Page 1

Recovery efforts from a Nov. 17 tornado continue for farmers like Curt and Sue Zehr. page 4

Bev Ehler represents a face of the latest Ag Census as a female, principal farm operator. page 5

Apply by June 13 to join the IFB Market Study Tour of four, key southern U.S. ports. page 8

Planting still ahead of average pace Monday, May 26, 2014

BY DANIEL GRANT FarmWeek

The vast majority of corn and more than one-third of soybeans are in the ground statewide despite another round of delays in some areas last week. Abnormally cold temperatures early this month gave way to a warm front that pushed the thermostat into the 80s last week. The weather shift also produced some spot showers, including severe weather in some locations, that delayed planting. Illinois farmers, though, planted 84 percent of corn (6 percent ahead of the average pace) and 36 percent of soybeans (10 percent ahead of the average pace) as of the first of last week despite a slow start to the season and recent weather delays. “It’s amazing how fast farmers can get the crops in these days,” said Dennis Bowman, University of Illinois Extension crop systems educator. “Most of the crops are in in a really timely fashion. We’re set up for a good start to the season.” A cold front that brought freezing or near-freezing temperatures and even snow to northern Illinois the middle of this month fortunately didn’t have a major impact on the corn crop in most areas, according to Bowman.

Two sections Volume 42, No. 21

“There were some isolated pockets of frost and some (crops) got dinged a little bit,” Bowman said. “But I haven’t heard of any replants yet. The growing points were below the ground. “Some beans were up, though (during the cold snap), and indications are they may not have done as well,” he noted. Last week, 60 percent of the corn crop and 11 percent of beans had emerged statewide. “The main problems we’ve seen so far are due to slow emergence,” Bowman said. “That gives more time for herbicide carryover problems. “But, all in all, corn and beans are faring fairly well,” he continued. “We have good moisture right now. We just need some consistent temperatures and sunshine.” The corn seemed to survive the cold snap in decent shape, but torrential rains, and subsequent field ponding, along with hail destroyed some of the crop in eastern Illinois last week. Thousands of acres must be replanted in that part of the state, according to Tim Mohr, a Champaign County farmer. Looking ahead, farmers might have to dodge more rain drops to finish planting. “The forecast is looking warmer and

Two rows of hailstones that fell on the Tuscola area the middle of last week line up for comparison to a golf ball and tennis ball. A severe storm last week pummeled Douglas and surrounding counties with torrential rainfall and hail as large as a grapefruit (3-4 inches). The storm caused extensive crop and property damage in east central Illinois. Read more about the damage from last week’s storm on page 7. (Photo by Ruth Ann Williams)

wetter than normal,” said Ed Shimon, meteorologist at the National Weather Service office in Lincoln. “We could be in another storm track later (this) week.”

Nationwide, farmers planted 73 percent of corn (3 percent behind the average pace) and 33 percent of beans (5 percent behind the average pace) as of the first of last week.

Obama’s signature. “We’re pleased Congress recognizes the ports, channels, locks, dams and other infrastructure that support our waterways transportation are vital to America’s ability to Rich Guebert Jr. provide affordable agricultural products at home and abroad,” said American Farm Bureau Federation President Bob Stallman. “We urge President Obama to swiftly sign this important bill into law.” Highlights of WRRDA include: • Change in financing for the Olmsted Lock and Dam project. The Inland Waterways Trust Fund would finance only 15 percent of the project’s costs, freeing up money for other projects. Federal government support would increase from 50 percent to 85 percent. The bill also requires the U.S. Corps of Engineers to submit annual financing

plans for any inland navigation project that costs more than $500 million. Guebert, in an interview with RFD Radio Network®, said he was pleased the federal government will be more responsible with Olmsted’s cost. “Hopefully, they can get that thing finished and free up some dollars for other Corps projects that need to be done,” he said. • Public-private partnership program. The pilot program would explore public-private partnerships to pay for previously authorized projects. The program is based on legislation introduced by Davis, Bustos and Sens. Dick Durbin, D-Springfield, and Mark Kirk, R-Highland Park. • Increased funding for harbor maintenance. The proposal increases the amount of money generated by the Harbor Maintenance Tax each year for harbor maintenance and dredging.

WRRDA approved, awaits Obama’s signature BY DEANA STROISCH FarmWeek

Periodicals: Time Valued

The House and Senate last week overwhelmingly approved the Water Resources Reform and Development

Act (WRRDA), authorizing much-needed improvements to U.S. waterways infrastructure. The bipartisan bill, estimated to cost $12.3 billion over the next 10 years, also creates jobs and streamlines the planning and approval process for water projects. Congress last reauthorized water infrastructure legislation in 2007. Illinois Farm Bureau President Rich Guebert Jr. called WRRDA “vitally important” because it allows lock and dam improvements “so agriculture and all of commerce can be competitive in this world market.” Guebert encouraged IFB members to thank members of Congress for their support. Reps. Rodney Davis, R-Taylorville, and Cheri Bustos, D-East Moline, served on the WRRDA conference committee. The Senate Thursday approved the conference report for HR 3080 on a 917 vote. The House, two days prior, voted 412-4. It still needs President Barack

FarmWeek on the web: FarmWeekNow.com

See WRRDA, page 2

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


SPECIALTY CROPS

FarmWeek Page 2 Monday, May 26, 2014

What they’re saying about WRRDA: “This legislation is very good news for Illinois. We know what locks and dams mean to our farmers, to local commerce and to the families that live in areas that are a high risk of flooding. Now we’ve passed a bill that will help make critical and necessary upgrades to that infrastructure after decades of neglect.” — Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Springfield Dick Durbin

“WRRDA is, first and foremost, a jobs bill, and the approval of a long-term WRRDA bill was overdue.” — Rep. Rodney Davis, R-Taylorville

Rodney Davis

“I’m elated that our bipartisan, common sense idea to help modernize our region’s aging locks and dams received overwhelming support in both the House and Senate. Improving our locks and dams is critical to our region’s economic health, and we can’t afford to wait any longer.” — Rep.Cheri Bustos, D-East Moline Cheri Bustos

“Now that we have the strategy for the inland waterway system in place, Congress needs to follow through with appropriations. We are hopeful that process will be consistent with recommendations prescribed in the WRRDA conference report.” — Bill Raben, Illinois Soybean Association chairman Bill Raben

“Passing the WRRDA bill is a small victory … however, this is only an authorization bill. Real change is not affected until appropriations for this spending come from Congress and until we increase the barge fuel user fee to grow available funds in the Inland Waterways Trust Fund.” — Gary Hudson, Illinois Corn Growers Association president

WRRDA Gary Hudson

By the year 2025, 100 percent of the funds generated by the tax will be used for that purpose versus half the funds currently used. • Mississippi River Basin study. The bill authorizes a study to evaluate how the basin functions and how it should be managed, especially during times of severe flooding and drought. It also creates an envicontinued from page 1

(ISSN0197-6680) Vol. 42 No. 21 May 26, 2014 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 goes toward the production of FarmWeek. “Farm, Family, Food” is used under license of the Minnesota Farm Bureau Federation.

Address subscription and advertising questions to FarmWeek, P.O. Box 2901, Bloomington, IL 61702-2901. Periodicals postage paid at Bloomington, Illinois, and at an additional mailing office. POSTMASTER: Send change of address notices on Form 3579 to FarmWeek, P.O. Box 2901, Bloomington, IL 61702-2901. Farm Bureau members should send change of addresses to their local county Farm Bureau. © 2014 Illinois Agricultural Association

ronmental management pilot program for the middle Mississippi River. It was based on a bill Durbin authored and introduced with Davis and Rep. Bill Enyart, D-Belleville. • Accelerates the planning process and streamlines environmental reviews. WRRDA limits most Corps studies to three years and caps the federal cost of them at $3 million. Currently, no limit exists for either.

STAFF Editor Chris Anderson (canderson@ilfb.org) Legislative Affairs Editor Kay Shipman (kayship@ilfb.org) Agricultural Affairs Editor Deana Stroisch (dstroisch@ilfb.org) Senior Commodities Editor Daniel Grant (dgrant@ilfb.org) Editorial Assistant Margie Fraley (mfraley@ilfb.org) Business Production Manager Bob Standard (bstandard@ilfb.org) Advertising Sales Manager Richard Verdery (rverdery@ilfb.org) Classified sales coordinator Nan Fannin (nfannin@ilfb.org) Director of News and Communications Michael L. Orso Advertising Sales Representatives Hurst and Associates, Inc. P.O. Box 6011, Vernon Hills, IL 60061 1-800-397-8908 (advertising inquiries only) Gary White - Northern Illinois Doug McDaniel - Southern Illinois Editorial phone number: 309-557-2239 Classified advertising: 309-557-3155 Display advertising: 1-800-676-2353

Tom Schwartz, a Centralia specialty grower, works around extreme weather challenges that delayed this year’s strawberry crop at Schwartz Orchard. Schwartz will host the 2014 Horticulture Field Day on June 12. (Photo by Ken Kashian)

Weather extremes challenging fruit crops BY KAY SHIPMAN FarmWeek

First, bone-chilling cold; then, an early heat wave. Fruit growers in parts of southern Illinois continue grappling with weather challenges. Tom Schwartz, owner and operator of Schwartz Orchard near Centralia, explained cold and heat are impacting this year’s crops. On June 12, Schwartz will host the 2014 Horticulture Field Day. “There aren’t any peaches,” Schwartz declared. Days of temperatures dipping as low as 15 to 16 degrees below zero destroyed Schwartz’s 2014 peach crop. However, he remains optimistic about his prospective apple crop. “The apples look pretty good. Apples are tougher,” he said. But the

cold temperatures slowed development, he added. Meanwhile, his strawberry crop reflects both cold and more recently hot days.

‘There aren’t any peaches.’ — Tom Schwartz Centralia specialty grower

Schwartz explained he lost the first set of early blooms to cold. Cool temperatures pushed berry development six or seven days behind schedule, he noted. But summer-like temperatures arrived ahead of schedule. “We don’t want 85-

degree days,” Schwartz said. Accelerated heat will result in all the blooms coming on simultaneously, he explained. Strawberry picking began mid-May. Schwartz also raises blackberries, pears, tomatoes and pumpkins along with apples, peaches and strawberries. Fruits and vegetables aren’t Schwartz’ only products. In January, he gained notoriety for his apple cider, which claimed the top prizes in the national and state cider competitions. The awards have increased interest in his cider. Schwartz also developed creative juices, which he markets as Schweet Juice. Those include Blapple, a combination of blackberry and apple, and Strapple, a mix of strawberry and apple.

Horticulture field day, tour set for June 12

Schwartz Orchard near Centralia will host the 2014 Horticulture Field Day June 12, starting at 8:30 a.m. Tour hosts will be Tom Schwartz, orchard owner and operator, and Nancy James, market manager. To reach the orchard, travel Interstate 57 and take exit 109. Go 4 miles west toward Centralia, then turn south or left onto Schwartz Road and travel for 2 miles to 1942 Copple Road. Visit {schwartzfruitfarm.com}. Schwartz Orchard covers about 40 acres southeast of Centralia. This year, the orchard opened April 26 and will close in mid-December. Visitors may pick their own or buy

prepicked apples, peaches, strawberries, pumpkins, blackberries, pears and tomatoes. The orchard sells award-winning cider and specialty juices. The market contains a state-ofthe-art cider press. With daily business hours, a bakery and country store offers a variety of baked goods, apple butters, jellies, pickles, crafts and cookbooks. Registration is encouraged before June 10. The cost is $25 per person or $30 on site. Children 11 and younger are free. To register, email ilsthortsoc@yahoo.com or call Don Naylor, horticulture society executive secretary at 309-530-7676 or 309-828-8929.


EMERGING ISSUES

Page 3 Monday, May 26, 2014 FarmWeek

County FBs, beekeeper teamwork buzzing Lawmakers keep budget, income tax rate in flux BY KAY SHIPMAN FarmWeek

Education, cooperation, new Farm Bureau members — even jars of honey — collaboration pays sweet dividends for some county Farm Bureaus and beekeeper groups. “We’ve used them to promote bee culture and to answer questions,” Cook County Farm Bureau manager Bob Rohrer said of the Cook-DuPage Beekeepers Association and its 100-some members. “Having all this out among the membership and in the public puts us in a favorable light.” Cook County Farm Bureau started working with the beekeeper group about four years ago, and the teamwork continues growing. The exchange includes beekeeper courses, ordering and delivery of bees, cross promotion of events and beekeeper volunteers to inform educators at Summer Ag Institutes. Many activities occur at the county Farm Bureau office.

FarmWeekNow.com

Go to FarmWeekNow.com to view the YouTube video of the CookDuPage County Farm Bureau bee distribution.

Will County Farm Bureau also started a beekeeping partnership about four years ago after demand for a Farm Bureau-sponsored beekeeping class outstripped classroom space, said Mark Schneidewind, Will County Farm Bureau manager. The county Farm Bureau helped organize WillBees, an educational nonprofit group, and shepherded it through the first year. Schneidewind and a manager trainee even drove to get the first order of bees for distribution. The county Farm Bureau and WillBees maintain a close connection — the county Farm Bureau’s membership chairman serves on the WillBees board. While the bee group operates separately with occasional Farm Bureau assistance, members meet and hold classes in the Farm Bureau building. Both county Farm Bureaus gained new members thanks to the beekeeper groups. “It’s been fantastic because of it,” said Debbie Voltz, who coordinates the beekeeping program for Cook County Farm Bureau. Class registration discounts are given to Cook County Farm Bureau or bee-

State lawmakers kept the state budget and income tax levels fluid as they headed into the last six days of the spring session. Legislators were scheduled to return on Memorial Day to resume budget negotiations. “Efforts to pass the governor’s recommended budget that relies on an extension of the income tax have hit a serious wall,” said Kevin Semlow, Illinois Farm Bureau director of state legislation. Last week, House Democrats determined they lacked 60 votes needed to extend the current income tax rate, according to Semlow. Friday on a 5-107 vote, the House defeated a second “doomsday” budget based on revenue levels without the income tax extension and with significant cuts to agencies and state services. “That leaves six scheduled days before the May 31 adjournment,” Semlow noted. With a 115-0 vote, the Illinois House Wednesday passed SB 3398, an Illinois Farm Bureau legislative priority to dovetail state and federal transportation rules. Specifically, the bill would allow farmers with pickups and dually trucks pulling farmplated trailers and implements of husbandry to be designated a Covered Farm Vehicle (CFV) and receive the same exemptions granted under federal trucking regulations to the

largest farm trucks, said Bill Bodine, Illinois Farm Bureau associate director of state legislation. Currently, those exemptions aren’t allowed in Illinois. Under the legislation, farmers who want their trucks with B or D license plates identified as a CFV when towing a farmplated trailer or implement of husbandry would be able to do so when registering their vehicles. A CFV would appear on the vehicle’s registration card and a $10 surcharge would be added. Also last week, the Senate passed HB 5085 that deals with industrial hemp in Illinois and gives universities rights to research industrial hemp. In 1999 and 2000, the General Assembly passed two industrial hemp bills, but Gov. George Ryan vetoed both because of a lack of private research funding. IFB industrial hemp policy states: “We encourage research of market potential for the production and processing of industrial hemp. We will aggressively pursue actions necessary to allow research on the production of industrial hemp and require the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) to issue permits to farmers allowing the production of this crop.” The 2014 farm bill establishes differences between marijuana and industrial hemp, allowing state departments or universities to perform research without a DEA permit.

More honeybee colonies nationwide survived the winter of 2013-14 compared to recent years, but losses remain above sustainable levels, according to an annual beekeeper survey released May 15. A total of 23.2 percent of managed honeybee colonies were lost, and nearly two-thirds of the 7,200 survey respondents reported losses greater than the 18.9 percent threshold that would be economically sustainable. However, losses were down compared to 30.5 percent in 2012-13 and the eight-year average of 29.6 percent. USDA and the University of Maryland Bee Informed Partnership conducted the survey that covered October 2013 through

April 2014. Researchers involved with the survey cannot pinpoint why more bees survived this year. “Yearly fluctuations in the rate of losses like these only demonstrate how complicated the whole issue of honeybee health has become,” said Jeff Pettis, the survey’s co-author and research leader of the Agricultural Research Service Bee Research Laboratory in Beltsville, Md. Pettis noted bee health factors include viruses and other pathogens, parasites like varroa mites, nutrition problems from lack of diversity in pollen sources and even sublethal effects of pesticides that combine to weaken and kill bee colonies.

BY KAY SHIPMAN FarmWeek

Cook County Farm Bureau member and beekeeper Marge Trocki, a bee instructor, inspects bees from a hive in the Lyman Woods bee yard. (Photo by Bob Rohrer, Cook County Farm Bureau manager)

keeper members, an incentive that frequently results in dual Farm Bureau-beekeeper memberships, Rohrer said. Many WillBees members also join the county Farm Bureau, Schneidewind said. WillBees has grown to 100plus members. Farm Bureau and beekeepers boast long-term relationships in Madison, McHenry and St. Clair counties. The St. Clair Beekeepers Association and the St. Clair and Madison County Farm Bureaus have worked together for about 15 years, according to Tom Jett, manager of both county Farm Bureaus. Most beekeeper members also belong to the Farm Bureau, Jett noted.

See honeybees work on USDA’s bee cam USDA proves the adage busy as a bee with its new online “bee cam.” A honeybee hive installed on the roof of USDA’s Whitten Building offers plenty of action 24/7 at {usda.gov/ beewatch}. Online viewers observe via a camera placed several feet from the hive entrance. This time of year, one may see female worker bees entering and exiting the hive to gather nectar and pollen. Website visitors also will find information about pollinators and tips to provide habitat.

The association, whose monthly meetings draw 75 to 100 attendees, accepts members from Bond, Madison, Monroe, Randolph and St. Clair counties. In addition to offering meeting rooms, the county Farm Bureau also offers its new members a complimentary jar of horseradish or honey purchased from local beekeepers. Jett appreciates the beekeepers’ help with callers who want to remove unwanted swarms. In return, the Farm Bureau encourages local pesticide applicators to search the state Driftwatch website for hive locations before applying pesticides, Jett said. A 20-year relationship continues between McHenry County Farm Bureau and the 160-member Northern Illinois Beekeepers Association. The beekeepers provide volunteers for the county Farm Bureau’s Ag Expo for third and fourth graders, according to Dan Volkers, county Farm Bureau manager. The Farm Bureau refers bee questions to the beekeepers and communicates frequently, Volkers said. Corky Schnadt, beekeeper association president, praised Volkers and the county Farm Bureau: “They’ve been wonderful.”

Survey shows fewer bee losses, but issues remain


AROUND ILLINOIS

FarmWeek Page 4 Monday, May 26, 2014

Farm cleanup, rebuilding continues in tornado aftermath Trees Forever launches Illinois tornado tree recovery campaign

BY KAY SHIPMAN FarmWeek

Farmers cope with challenges, but those dealing with the aftermath of the Nov. 17 tornadoes could not have prepared for the impact or the debris. About six months later, rebuilding and cleanup continues in communities and on farms. Among the hardest hit areas were Brookport, Coal City, Gifford, New Minden, Pekin and Washington. Cleaning up debris scattered across their fields continues to challenge three farmers who spoke to FarmWeek. Metamora farmer Kent Hodel and his neighbor shared the same assessment of their Woodford County fields: “We really never ever believed there was that much debris out there.” Hodel reported debris pickup provided additional exercise while driving his tractor. “If I make one round without getting off the tractor, that’s something.” Debris still surfaces even after Hodel and others cleaned every field once, and some two and three times. In Champaign County, Thomasboro farmer Bev Ehler used a magnet to collect metal debris, but still finds debris of all sizes in her fields. “It’s hard to visualize the impact that storm had,” Ehler said. Her farm was the first hit by the tornado that damaged Gifford. Washington farmer Curt Zehr took a different tactic with debris in his Tazewell County fields after talking to a friend who had storm experience. Zehr chiseled plowed the ground, trying to bury some of the debris. In one 80-acre field,

he reported successfully planting corn without getting a flat tractor tire. Repair of damaged farm machinery continues based on seasonal needs. Both Hodel and Ehler had planting equipment repaired and returned to allow spring fieldwork. They await repairs of harvest equipment, including Hodel’s combine, corn head and bean head.

Ehler’s home sustained some damage, but the tornado destroyed two sheds and four grain bins. Work started last week to replace one of her sheds. After her experience, Ehler recommends farmers take photos and document the contents of their homes and machine sheds — and store those away from the homesite. The tornado took a couple

Above, Curt and Sue Zehr of Washington continue to recover from a November tornado that leveled their home, grain bins and a machine shed. A 150-year-old Ponderosa pine, which blew down in the storm, could become mantelpieces in their new home. Left, Sue Zehr looks at photos her grandchildren sent as good luck charms during the reconstruction process. The photos will be ensconced in the walls as mementos. (Photos by Ken Kashian)

Trees Forever is raising money to help Illinois communities damaged by Nov. 17 tornadoes regain trees. Trees Forever plans to buy quality trees, help with replanting and provide education about selection of appropriate species and proper planting and care. Illinois Farm Bureau participates in Trees Forever’s Illinois Buffer Partnership. In partnership with each town, contributions to Trees Forever will be pooled with local funds and allocated by Trees Forever and sponsoring organizations. Trees Forever hopes to raise $75,000 and distribute 100 percent to support tree planting efforts. For more information or to donate to the Give to Grow campaign, visit {treesforever.org}, call 800369-1269, or email Debby Fluegel, Trees Forever Illinois coordinator, at dfluegel @treesforever.org.

of Zehr’s grain bins, his grain complex, machine shed and family home. Just like spring, that rebuilding process has been slow. “We have our house framed and roughed in. It’s nice to see progress,” he said. Volunteers may still help with tornado recovery efforts. Those wanting to help or donate to tornado recovery in

the Gifford area may call the Gifford Tornado Relief hotline at 217-568-7411, said Christina Gann, the tornado relief operations manager. Gann urged volunteers to call before they arrive to learn specific needs and work locations on a specific day. In the Washington area, volunteers can call Bethany Community Church Relief at 309573-2670. Volunteers can also visit the church’s website at {bethanycommunitychurch.org/ ministries/home.asp?id=610}.

the intent of Congress.” The farm bill includes a Rural Development title. She gave an example of one change in the local foods initiative that will impact Rural Development. Under the new farm bill, Rural Development may work

entity ... (through a Rural Development business loan guarantee) will help underprivileged and undermet groups of individuals. This is very new to us, so we continue picking through it and evaluating to know how it can be utilized.”

State oversight committee Process to implement farm bill continues through each of the new titles with rural groups as well as extends ruling deadline to be sure we fully understand some urban groups if “that Efforts to implement the BY KAY SHIPMAN FarmWeek

BY KAY SHIPMAN FarmWeek

The state Joint Committee on Administrative Rules (JCAR) granted an additional 45 days to make its decision on proposed state rules for Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations (CAFOs) in a hearing last week. The rules, spanning 158 pages, originally were proposed by the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency (IEPA) and reviewed by the Illinois Pollution Control Board (PCB). “Our coalition of ag organizations is sharing concerns about PCB’s proposed rules with members of JCAR,” said Bill Bodine, IFB associate director of state legislation. IFB and other members of an agriculture coalition have sought state CAFO rules consistent with federal rules. In Illinois, IEPA has authority over the National Pollution Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permits required for CAFOs. The agency proposed NPDES permit rules for certain CAFOs in the state. After JCAR members review the rules, they may state they have no objection, object or make recommendations to the proposed rules.

farm bill continue, Illinois Director for Rural Development Colleen Callahan said last week during a joint interview with RFD Radio Network® and FarmWeek. “We are in the process,” Callahan said. “USDA is going

USDA, CDC to pool foodborne illness expertise

USDA and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recently signed an agreement to jointly address foodborne health hazards linked to meat, poultry and processed egg products. The agreement, part of the One Health initiative, includes USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS). The agreement outlines personnel training and the planning of interagency assess-

ment of FSIS-regulated establishments as part of foodborne illness investigations and health hazard evaluations. “Our agencies work together on foodborne outbreak investigations to identify the source of illnesses and conduct epidemiologic studies,” said Robin Ikeda, deputy director of CDC’s Office of Noncommunicable Diseases, Injury and Environmental Health.


FARM LIVING

Page 5 Monday, May 26, 2014 FarmWeek

Champaign County farmer perseveres, maintains family operation BY DANIEL GRANT FarmWeek

Bev Ehler knows farming. She’s been in the business since 1974. But nothing could prepare the Thomasboro farmer for the adversity she encountered the last five years. “My husband (Duane) passed away unexpectedly in 2009,” Ehler told FarmWeek. In the blink of an eye, “I became the sole person to handle (the farming operation).” Ehler’s farming and managing skills, along with her ability to deal with difficult situations, were put to the test again last fall. A Nov. 17 tornado, which struck the nearby farm community of Gifford (Champaign County), destroyed most of the outbuildings on Ehler’s farm and damaged or destroyed a large portion of her equipment. “It pretty much wiped out the farm except for my home. I lost four bins, my big shed, a major part of my trucking operation and part of my farm equipment,” she said. “I was able to plant (this spring), but my harvest equipment still has to be fixed or replaced.” Ehler amazingly maintains a positive outlook and zest for farming despite the challenges. She grows corn and soybeans with the help of a small staff of workers and truckers. And she has no plans of slowing down or retiring even after 40 years in business. “My plan is to just keep going forward and take it a day at a time,” Ehler said. “Every time I try to plan ahead, it seems something changes.” Ehler worked side-by-side with her husband on the farm. So, when he passed five years ago, she already possessed the skills and abilities to take over the farm. The Ehlers also had hired

Above: Thomasboro farmer Bev Ehler, left, discusses plans for the day with employee Kyle Krapf, of Mahomet. Right: Ehler surveys the landscape from her tractor steps. She represents a growing number of women serving as principal farm operators, according to the latest Ag Census. She holds the position of treasurer on the Champaign County Farm Bureau Board. (Photos by Ken Kashian)

hands to help with the day-today operations. Bev continues to rely on their help. “Duane always had me involved in everything, so I was quite able to go forward,” Ehler said. “And I have an awesome staff. They treat (my farm) like it’s their own.” But taking over the family farm in an instant certainly presented some challenges. Ehler felt she had to constantly prove herself in a male-dominated field. Last year, women accounted for 6,891 of the 75,087 principal farm operators in Illinois, according to the 2012 Ag Census. Those women farm a combined 843,244 acres in the Prairie State. “I felt like everybody was watching me at first, waiting for me to fail. I had a lot of challenges,” Ehler said. “Being a woman, there were a lot of times, such as when I’d go to look at a piece of equipment, that others assumed I didn’t know anything (about farming).” Ehler became involved in Farm Bureau and felt it helped with the transition. She serves

as Champaign County Farm Bureau treasurer. “I became involved in Farm Bureau and it helped me a lot,” she said. “I had a lot of great people talk to me.” Ehler, who owns and rents ground, also connected with her landlords. Most are women. “I’m fortunate. I rent some ground and most of it is owned by ladies,” she said. “It really is a unique situation. I can relate with my landladies.” When Ehler isn’t farming, she’s busy at her other job. She works for a local farm supply company. “That’s where I got a lot of

my ag background,” she said. “I enjoy people.” Looking ahead, Ehler remains positive and found a silver lining after the storm clouds passed last fall. She hopes construction will begin this month on a new shed

on her farm and that most of her outbuildings can be replaced by fall. Ehler also helped organize a tree planting activity for other victims of the tornado. “I’m basically starting fresh,” she added. “It’s like a new beginning.”

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Sheep, goat parasites workshop May 31

Information about internal parasites in sheep and goats and FAMACHA training will be offered May 31 at a University of Illinois Extension workshop in Franklin County. Participants need to register by Wednesday. The workshop limits participation to 25 individuals. FAMACHA is a diagnostic tool that helps farmers identify parasite infection in sheep and goats. The tool is a chart that matches eyelid color to anemia levels, an indicator of parasite infection. The program on parasite prevention and control strategies will start at 10 a.m. in the Extension office, Benton. Participants will hear how to minimize internal parasite infections and to identify animals that may be anemic and likely need treatment with deworming products. FAMACHA training will start at 1 p.m. on the Franklin-Jefferson County fairgrounds, Ina. Participants must attend the parasite control and strategies program before they may attend the FAMACHA training. Individuals who took the January integrated parasite management course do not have to attend the morning session to participate in FAMACHA training. The workshop registration fee is $15 and includes all lab supplies and materials for morning program. FAMACHA training costs an additional $20 per person. For more information or to register, contact the U of I’s Teresa Steckler at 618-695-4917 or {web.extension.illinois.edu/dsac/index.html} or the Franklin County Extension Office at 618439-3178.

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FarmWeek Page 6 Monday, May 26, 2014 Bernie Walsh, Durand, Winnebago County: It was back to the field here in northern Illinois this week. There were some light to moderate rains, but they were spotty. So, some of us were able to keep planting. I believe the corn planting is 99.9 percent complete, and the soybean planting is also nearly complete. The corn was really coming up fast with the warmer temps we had last week. It is growing out of some light frost damage we had on the mornings of May 13 and 14. Hope everyone had a good Memorial Day weekend. Pete Tekampe, Grayslake, Lake County: Finally spring has arrived. We had three, 80degree days to start the week. The planters started hitting fields Wednesday after a 10-day vacation, but it was still a little wet. Corn is about 80 percent planted. Early corn showed some frost damage, but those 80-degree days greened it up. Very few beans are planted. Oats look good and alfalfa does too, but the wheat that is left is still spotty. A great week is forecast. Happy farming and be safe. Leroy Getz, Savanna, Carroll County: Rain of 1.5 inches for the week. Tuesday, storms dropped large hail in some areas. Not much fieldwork was done until later in the week. Some rye has been chopped, hay has been mowed and the last of the corn was being planted. The corn that has emerged looks good and stands are excellent. Bean planting is somewhere around 30 percent. Our attention was focused on one of our large dairy cows whose leg was bleeding. Two veterinarian visits, several stitches, blood stopper, baby diapers, wet wraps and duct tape, and all is well now. Ryan Frieders, Waterman, DeKalb County: The weather last week was very unstable. Large temperature swings, golf ball sized hail and strong winds tore through the area accompanied by 3 inches of rain in some fields. Soybean planting has progressed in drier areas. We have been rotary hoeing cornfields to help with emergence in crusted soils. We still have a lot of work to do. Larry Hummel, Dixon, Lee County: Snow? Yes, snow! On Monday (May 19) we got a bunch. In Amboy, it snowed like crazy just eight miles from my house. Cars coming from that direction had at least 3 inches of snow on the hood. Corn went from a rich green to a pale yellow by that afternoon. As temperatures warmed up through the week, corn resumed its growth and was greening up. Planters were still rolling, but the finish line is close. Ken Reinhardt, Seaton, Mercer County: Rains went north and south of us as has been the pattern lately. Soybean planting will wind down by Memorial Day. I am down to just a test plot. Some of the earliest soybeans have emerged, while some that were planted before hard rains on May 12 are having a tough struggle. Corn residue has been a challenge this spring. It simply froze in place from harvest without the normal freeze/thaw cycles of a typical winter. Ron Moore, Roseville, Warren County: We did not receive any rain last week. We finished planting soybeans May 19. Virtually all of the corn is planted in this area and about 90 percent of the soybeans will have been planted during the weekend. Some post spraying of corn has started and liquid N will start soon. There is more split application of N in this area every year. Spoon-feeding the crop is one way to help increase yields and reduce N losses. Some hay has been mowed. Our hay is still not ready yet. We will be checking fences where the hay grows for a few more days. Jacob Streitmatter, Princeville, Peoria County: A dry week across the area allowed a lot of soybeans to get planted. Cold weather last week left some corn frostbitten in low-lying areas. The weeds never slow down or look sick.

Tim Green, Wyoming, Stark County: It was a very productive week. Beans are getting close to done around this area. There is just a little bit of corn yet to be planted, but generally everyone is getting done. A little post spraying on corn began. The warm weather is helping the corn grow as well as the weeds. Stands are really good so far. Still dry. No subsoil moisture. We need timely rains. Mark Kerber, Chatsworth, Livingston County: It was a drying out week after our recent floods. Producers are surveying the damage done to young corn and soybean seedlings. There has been some herbicide damage show up to beans after all of the rain. Replant and spotting-in are not fun words we are using. Erosion was intensive as the past rains came quick. We even had two railroad ties washed into our fields. Farmers are anxious to return to planting as we are trying to find a dry field. Burndown spraying is going well. Memorial Day weekend will be a busy one in the fields if the rains hold off. Be safe and don’t get stuck. Ron Haase, Gilman, Iroquois County: Farmers returned to fields Tuesday. Some were sidedressing nitrogen while others were rotary hoeing their corn to help it emerge. I began to see field cultivators and planters resume activities Wednesday. We began field cultivating and planting Thursday. I had 40 acres of corn to plant Friday morning. Then we will have finished planting corn for the first time. Then we will switch the planter over to soybeans. We decided to switch another 50 acres from corn to soybeans. We hope to get the soybeans planted before the next period of wet weather. After we finish soybean planting, we will need to convert the planter back over to corn to replant the areas that did not emerge due to the saturated soils. Corn was yellow the beginning of the week and turned green as the water table lowered and the sun and warm weather returned. The only moisture we received was just sprinkles. The range in corn development is anywhere from just having been planted up to the V3 growth stage. The earliest planted soybean fields have reached the V2 growth stage. At V2, nitrogen fixation is beginning. The local closing prices for May 22: nearby corn, $4.51; new-crop corn, $4.40; nearby soybeans, $15.41; newcrop soybeans, $12.40. Brian Schaumburg, Chenoa, McLean County: Now that fields have dried up, producers are sidedressing N, post spraying, planting and replanting. Soybean planting is 90 percent complete and 50 percent are at VE to V1. Corn is at VE-V3 and is greening up with warm weather and sunshine. Little insect activity as of yet. Some herbicide injury in both corn and beans has shown up. Corn, $4.68, $4.49 fall; soybeans, $15.32, $12.38 fall; wheat, $6.20. Steve Ayers, Champaign, Champaign County: Wednesday was a dark, and stormy night ... actually it started about 4 p.m. with a strong storm rumbling eastward down Illinois 10 through Piatt County. It turned southeast near White Heath and skirted south of Champaign with golf ball sized hail, 65 mph winds and monsoon rains. Southwest of Bondville, it rained 4.9 inches with 30 minutes of hail. The hail bullseye was Tuscola in Douglas County with 4-inch hail damaging numerous vehicles, homes, buildings, trees and power lines. Travelers on Interstate 57 were stranded with damaged vehicles. The storm continued rumbling into Vermilion and Edgar counties. Fortunately, no one was hurt to my knowledge. Farmers and adjusters will be evaluating crop damage next week, but it should be minimal at this growth stage. Some corn seedlings were stripped of leaves with only the main stem standing. Let’s be careful out there!

Wilfred Dittmer, Quincy, Adams County: A week of good days resulted in a lot of soybeans going in the ground, even though soil temps were still cool and no rainfall since last report. Not all fields are equal as some are drier than others and they got planted before the rush began. Some corn has been struggling, and I think there has even been some fields replanted. I think the drought area of the country still needs to be remembered as it still is a long way until harvest. The year 2012 hasn’t been forgotten yet. Have a safe week. Carrie Winkelmann, Tallula, Menard County: We finished planting beans, and the earliest planted beans are still emerging with a decent stand. Corn continues to look good. The thing I am very glad to report is that we received no harsh weather this week as opposed to some of the stories I have heard from around the state. Hope everyone enjoyed the long holiday weekend! Tom Ritter, Blue Mound, Macon County: It was a busy week with a lot being accomplished in the fields. Corn planting in this area is virtually complete. Soybean planting is well over 80 percent complete. Fields that need to be finished are few and far between. Southern Macon County had a dry week, while northern Macon County caught some showers the middle of the week that stopped field activity in that area. Some of those storms generated some good sized hail. A lot of sidedressing and nitrogen going on as well as herbicide application. Beans are at various stages. Some of them are struggling to get through from the rain and cool temperatures we had before. Those that were planted two weeks ago popped right through the ground and look excellent. A lot of corn is approximately a foot high with good color for the most part. There is some yellow corn, but the warmer temperatures seem to be helping. By the time we receive rain this week, it will definitely be time. We don’t want to shut the water off this early in the season, so we are hoping to get some showers generated. Todd Easton, Charleston, Coles County: Fieldwork finally resumed last week as fields have slowly dried out enough to work. With the corn planters in the shed, bean planters are finishing up adjacent to sprayers and sidedress applicators working between rows of late V1 corn. After enduring several cool, wet days, the corn yellowed up across the area. It took about three days of warm weather to come out of it. The planted soybeans are emerging well and some are already developing their first set of unifoliate leaves. Unfortunately, some fields experienced herbicide damage caused by the right things happening at the wrong time involving the cool, wet weather and PPO inhibitors. With clear weather ahead, there will be a lot of the spring work done by next report. As we enter the home stretch, remember to be careful! Jimmy Ayers, New City, Sangamon County: We received a few spotty showers last week, but most of the week we just dried out. The planters were rolling Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday. Anyone that wasn’t done was trying to get finished up. Some of the corn has taken a yellow cast on it from the cold. Beans have been really slow at emerging. A little bit of sidedressing of corn and a lot of chemicals were being sprayed, and some hay being mowed down. Some wheat was treated with fungicide, and roadsides were being mowed ahead of the holiday. Hope everyone enjoyed the weekend and we certainly want to remember everyone for the Memorial Day holiday. David Schaal, St. Peter, Fayette County: There has not been a lot of tillage or planting around the area in the past week. Sprayers have been running hot and heavy all week trying to catch up on planted corn. A few tractors returned to fields Wednesday and Thursday, looking for dry ground and to get some beans planted. A slight chance of showers was in the weekend forecast, but everybody was going to roll and get soybeans in the ground as soon as possible. Have a good week.


Page 7 Monday, May 26, 2014 FarmWeek Doug Uphoff, Shelbyville, Shelby County: We finished up beans last Saturday (May 17). We started last Thursday (May 15). Field conditions in the ponded areas were not good, but the rest of the field worked well. There are going to be several fields replanted that received heavy rains and the lighter soils that sealed over. A combination of low temperatures, excess rain and post-emergent herbicides are causing poor emergence, no emergence or even dead plants. We fixed tile holes last Wednesday, and I have heard that there have been a lot of those this year. I’m assuming it is because of the harsh winter coupled with the old clay tile. Corn here looks good, but it has a light green color and some signs of frost from the cool weather, but we have good stands. Dad mowed the first crop of alfalfa Thursday. They had baseball sized hail 30 miles north of here Wednesday, and north and east of there they had large amounts (3 to 6 inches) of rain. We had neither. Have a good week and be careful out there. Dave Hankammer, Millstadt, St. Clair County: Farmers started returning to fields as the soil slowly dried and temps started to warm. Despite the forecast of isolated rain showers and storms, we received a brief, light shower while others to the east of us received more rain and wind. Corn planting was wrapped up due to the favorable weather. Additional fields of alfalfa and grasses were cut for hay or chopped for silage. Soybean plantings also increased this week. The wheat crop has progressed to the pollination stage. Some fields were treated with a fungicide and insecticide to protect the crop from disease and invading pests. Local grain bids are corn, $4.79; soybeans, $15.33; wheat, $6.40. Have a safe week.

Jeff Guilander, Jerseyville, Jersey County: A nice stretch of weather late last week really got things rolling. I would say corn is done and beans are well over half done with even some replanting. The 3-plus inches of rain and 40degree temperatures sure didn’t help a lot of beans. Overall with what can be seen, I think most are satisfied, just not impressed. Dan Meinhart, Montrose, Jasper County: After being out of the fields for two weeks, a few farmers were able to get back into fields Thursday afternoon. A lot of corn planted on May 7-8 will need to be replanted or spotted in as these fields received heavy rains shortly after being planted. Wheat fields are looking good in spite of the heavy rains. Fungicides and insecticides are being applied to wheat. Several farmers have not been able to plant anything as of yet. There is still a lot of corn to be planted. We are hoping for a dry, warm week ahead. Rick Corners, Centralia, Jefferson County: Very little rain since my last report, but we had a little frost on the rooftops Saturday morning (May 17), but I can’t see that it hurt much. Tractors started stirring around again Tuesday. Some finished corn planting and others started on beans. Strawberry picking started this week. Yum yum.

Kevin Raber, Browns, Wabash County: Fieldwork has resumed. The spraying of early corn, planting corn, replanting corn and planting soybeans were the main activities. The early corn is looking better. Most fields have less than a perfect stand, but the thin areas are small. The wheat looks good and the warmer, drier weather was just what the wheat needed. Dean Shields, Murphysboro, Jackson County: This week the weather was nice and dry. We were able to get a lot of bean planting done. Corn and beans that were planted before the 6-inch rain are so-so. Wheat is heading out and looks pretty good. Enjoying the dry weather and the sunshine. Take your time and stay safe this planting season. Ken Taake, Ullin, Pulaski County: It was a much better week for fieldwork in deep southern Illinois. We managed to get in the field and start spraying Monday (May 19). We were back planting corn Tuesday. As I called in this report Thursday night, we were down to about 120 acres of corn to plant, but that ground is still too wet. We haven’t planted any soybeans yet, although there has been quite a few planted across the county. Our first-planted corn is up and looking a little better. It needs to be sidedressed. Some of the corn that was planted right before the big rain is going to have to be replanted. We are still trying to assess how much replanting we are going to have to do. Wheat is headed out and looks good, at least from the road. Please be careful and have a safe week.

Severe weather pummels east central Illinois

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

BY DANIEL GRANT FarmWeek

Champaign County farmer Tim Mohr of Allerton thought he put his planter away for the last time this season when he recently finished planting beans. But Mohr and many other farmers in east central Illinois have fields to replant after a severe thunderstorm, which dumped torrential rain and large hail on the area, decimated some crop fields.

FarmWeekNow.com

Go to FarmWeekNow.com to learn more about the devastating hailstorm and rains that hit east central Illinois last week.

“It was too much rain too fast,” Mohr told FarmWeek. “We got about 3.5 inches in a little over an hour. “I’ve got a farm south of Sidney that had pretty substantial hail damage,” he continued. “There definitely will be some replanting.” The torrential rain caused extensive field ponding, even in fields where Mohr installed pattern tile in recent years. Meanwhile, hailstones ranged in size from a quarter to golf ball size in Champaign County up to tennis ball size (3.5 to 4 inches) near Tuscola (Douglas County). The Douglas County Far m Bureau office subsequently closed last week

An excellent stand of corn in southeast Champaign County became engulfed by a field pond last week as torrential rains pummeled east central Illinois. Tim Mohr, who farms the flooded field, said between 3.5

due to storm damage. Ed Shimon, meteorologist with the National Weather Service office in Lincoln, said the stor m produced flash flooding that forced the closure of some rural roads and p a cke d s t r o n g w i n d s t h a t gusted to 63 mph at the University of Illinois Willard Airport near Savoy.

Rainfall topped out nearly 4 inches around Champaign and Broadlands. “There was a lot of energy in the lower levels, so rising air got well above the freezing level,” Shimon said of the storm. “There also was a lot of backbuilding, so it redeveloped over the same area, which allowed it to produce

and 4 inches of rain doused his area in about an hour May 21. Large hail also shredded some cornfields. Thousands of acres will have to be replanted in the area. (Photo by Tim Mohr)

significant size hail.” The 4-inch hail in Douglas County last week was the second-largest on record there in the last 50 years. A severe storm in April 1998 produced 4.5-inch hailstones. “I had 6-inch tall corn that got shredded to nothing (by the hail),” Mohr said. “Just about everybody was finished

planting and ever ything looked so good. Now we’ve got thousands of acres underwater.” The storm also impacted farmers in Edgar, Piatt and Ver milion counties, among other locations. There were widespread reports of power outages and property damage.


ISSUES

FarmWeek Page 8 Monday, May 26, 2014

China seen as good market for ethanol FarmWeek “Greater possibilities” than imagined exist for the United States to export ethanol to China, according to participants of a recent USDA trade mission. “This is going to require some persistence on our part, and it’s going to take some time,” said Jim Miller, vice president and chief economist of Growth Energy. “There are certainly a number of barriers to trade, but the market opportunity does exist for China to become an importer of U.S. ethanol.” Miller and Kelly Davis of the Renewable Fuels Association were among renewable BY DEANA STROISCH

fuels leaders who participated in a recent trade mission. The trip had a two-fold purpose: to promote biofuels and other ag products in northeast China and serve as an “exploratory market development mission” for ethanol industry leaders. Miller and Davis shared their experiences during a media conference call last week. “I was fascinated by the economy in China and how fast it was growing,” Davis said. “And I was also amazed at how many cars I actually saw.” Last year, she said, 20 million cars were sold in China, which surpasses U.S. sales totals. She said they hope to contin-

ue discussing the possibility of exporting U.S. ethanol to China. But challenges remain. The biggest: China law currently prohibits ethanol from being imported, Miller said. The law would have to change, and the United States would have to prove that it’s a reliable supplier and cost competitive, he said. He said China is moving away from grain-based ethanol and eventually hopes to use cellulosic ethanol. “This is basically consistent with their federal regulations that they will no longer use additional food crops to produce ethanol,” he said.

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to al alllll oou our uurr ggenerous gen enneeerrrooouuuss G Grow Grrroooww & G Goo Sponsors Spo ponnnsssooorrrss & Participants! Paaarrrtittiiiccciiipppaaannntttss! P The IA A Foundation held its 4th A nnual 5K Grow & G o on Saturday, May 10, 2014. This family friendly event raises funds for Illinois Agriculture in the Classroom and raises awareness with consumer s about the impor tant role of agriculture and the family farms that put food on ourr table. Over 400 runner s, walker s, kid dasher s, families and volunteer s gathered at the Illinois Farm Bureau, COUNTRY Financial and GROWMARK headquar ter s for a g reat day of fun!

Over v $$15,000 15,0000 Raised is For o

Application deadline nearing Time is running out to apply for this year’s Illinois Farm Bureau Market Study Tour, the first to focus on port infrastructure in the United States. The four-city tour will be Aug. 30-Sept. 6. The itinerary includes visits to southern U.S. ports: Galveston/Port Arthur, Texas; New Orleans; Savannah, Ga.; and Norfolk, Va. At each stop, participants will meet with multiple stakeholders — from exporters and importers to railroad, union and port authority officials. “The goal of the trip is to develop a cadre of farmer leaders who can speak with authority on river, rail, highway and other infrastructure issues and

assist with future legislative priorities in these areas,” said Tamara Nelsen, IFB’s senior director of commodities. “Maintaining the competitiveness of American agriculture via investments in our infrastructure and cooperation with like-minded groups and coalitions will be a key outcome of the tour.” IFB typically hosts more than a dozen farmers on the annual market study tour. Applications, which are due to IFB by June 13, will be scored by a panel of judges. For more information on the tour, contact Tamara Nelsen at tnelsen@ilfb.org or (309) 557-3112.

U of I, universities partner with hypoxia task force

The University of Illinois and 11 other land-grant universities have formed a partnership with the national hypoxia task force to support states’ efforts to reduce nutrient levels in the Mississippi River and the Gulf of Mexico. The Mississippi River/Gulf of Mexico Watershed Nutrient Task Force met last week in Arkansas. In addition to the U of I, participating universities include Purdue University, University of Arkansas, University of Kentucky, Mississippi State University, Ohio State University, University of Tennessee, University of Missouri, University of Minnesota, University of Wisconsin, Iowa State University and Louisiana State University. Individual states already collaborate with their respective landgrant universities on water quality research and agricultural programs. However, the efforts lacked a specific focus on the task force’s goals and activities or a formal process for sharing university research and ideas among the 12 task force states. The new network will bring additional expertise to help reduce nutrient runoff and advise the task force and other national policy makers. The task force includes five federal agencies, tribes, and environmental quality, agricultural and conservation agencies from 12 basin states working to address excess nutrients and the hypoxic zone in the Gulf of Mexico. For more information, visit {water.epa.gov/type/watersheds/ named/msbasin/index.cfm}.

ISU Collegiate Farm Bureau team elected

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Illinois State University (ISU) Collegiate Farm Bureau recently elected its second officer team for the 2014-15 school year. There are roughly 130 ISU Collegiate Farm Bureau members. They are: Cori Harrison, Minier, president; Rebecca Vaessen, Normal, vice president; Andrea Davidson, Rockford, treasurer; Kelsey Schuel-

er, Bloomington, secretary; Rachel Hoeft, Bloomington, member services and programming; Courtney Miller, Normal, public realtions; Kristen Faucon, Normal, governmental affairs; and Emily Newcomer, Leaf River, agricultural outreach. Professors Rob Rhykerd and Justin Rickard serve as advisers.


NATURAL RESOURCES

Page 9 Monday, May 26, 2014 FarmWeek

Best species for a beginning cover crop farmer Q. I am just starting to grow cover crops. Which ones are easier to start with? Which ones should I stay away from? Dave Bishop, PrairieErth Farm: For me, the easiest to manage and most reliable cover crops have been cereal rye and red clover, but that may not be the case everywhere. Consult the Midwest Cover Crops Council Cover Crop decision tools website {http://mcccdev.anr.msu.edu /VertIndex.php} for your location. Talk with nearby farmers,

Natural Resources Conservation Service staff and others. Attend field days. It’s important to get a reasonable comfort level with cover crops and start with a manageable number of acres. Annual ryegrass probably will not be the best one to start with due to termination challenges. Pete Fandel, Illinois Central College: The easiest cover crops to start with would be the species that winterkill, such as oats and radish. If you start with those, there is no need to worry about terminating the cover crop because

Illinois Conservation Police warn landowners to be alert for timber thefts after recent cases in Kankakee and Stephenson counties. Landowners are encouraged to obtain a written contract before any trees are harvested and to make sure loggers are licensed and bonded. The Illinois Department of Natural Resources (IDNR) forestry division will help landowners mark their timber. Contact the foresters at 888-244-1706 or visit {dnr.state.il.us/conservation/forestry/}. The Stephenson County state’s attorney authorized 16 felony charges and 12 misdemeanor charges against Ronald Hertel, 63, Shannon, for timber theft and failure to pay IDNR a harvest fee and to account for the timber harvest. Hertel was arrested April 16 for timber theft after conservation police investigated a complaint that timber valued at $97,000 was removed from property owned by 11 landowners and no payment was received. Police confiscated equipment, including a John

Deere log skidder, used in the illegal harvest. Additional charges against Hertel are pending in Carroll County. Conservation police know Hertel cut timber in several other northern Illinois counties. Anyone with additional information should call the Conservation Police at 217782-6431. A central Illinois logging company, Poignant Logging Inc. of Lacon, and LeRoy Poignant Jr., must pay $75,000 for illegally harvesting oak trees worth $20,000 from the Tallmadge Sand Forest Land and Water Reserve in Kankakee County. The Nature Conservancy owns the reserve. In addition, Poignant and the loggers caused $61,780 in damage to the property. The Antlers and Wings Hunt Club of Kankakee County, operated by Anthony Dinovo and located adjacent to the reserve, had hired the logging company, which accessed the forest from hunt club land. As part of the settlement, the club will sell 69 acres to the Nature Conservancy to expand the reserve.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) last week released EnviroAtlas, a web-based interactive tool that integrates more than 300 data layers. EnviroAtlas was designed for use by people from all levels of government, professionals, researchers, educators, nongovernmental organizations and anyone considering the possible benefits or impacts of a land-use decision, such as siting a new road or city park. Visit {enviroat las.epa.gov/enviroatlas/}. The tool integrates geospatial data from a variety of sources to allow users to visu-

alize and analyze how decisions impact ecosystems and their ability to provide goods and services. Community and county leaders often face difficult decisions, such as trade-offs between transportation, residential or commercial development and maintaining farms, local wetlands, urban greenspaces or urban forests. The tool’s images show the condition of a local community’s air, water and landscape as well as population density and other demographic data. Users can investigate land cover patterns.

State conservation police warn landowners about timber thefts

EPA releases mapping tool related to ecosystem impacts

both species will not survive a typical central Illinois winter. Keep in mind that the growth will be limited by how quickly they are planted in the fall and the amount of time between planting and when temperatures get below 20 degrees. The cover crop species that likely requires the greatest management would be annual ryegrass. It grows very rapidly in the spring and can be much more difficult to control once it reaches the joint stage of growth. Also if you grow annual ryegrass, you need to understand how best to control it and have a backup plan if the weather does not cooperate. Keep in mind there are many benefits to using annual ryegrass. You just need to manage it properly. Russ Higgins, University of Illinois Extension Northern Illinois Agrono-

my Research Center: I encourage producers to start small and start with cover crops that do not require as high a level of management. For example, start with oats, oilseed radish or combinations of cover crops that will winterkill. Once you become comfortable with cover crop establishment, you can progress to species that need to be terminated in the spring. Dean Oswald, Illinois Council on Best Management Practices: Many just starting with cover crops have concerns with termination. The easiest crop to start with is spring oats or oats/radish. No termination is required because they will winterkill. As for ones to avoid ... annual ryegrass has many advantages as a cover crop, but may be better suited to farmers with more experience. The deep rooting characteristic of annual ryegrass may make termination more difficult and timing is critical. Mike Plumer, Illinois Council on Best Manage-

ment Practices: Oats and oilseed radish are the easiest to start with. Both will grow in the fall and be winterkilled, so no problem to worry about killing them in the spring. The ones to stay away from? Typically you need a year or two of experience before trying hairy vetch or annual ryegrass. Cereal rye also can be an issue because it gets really big quickly in April. Annual ryegrass requires timely burn down, and hairy vetch is really difficult to plant into if it gets big. They all can be easier to manage if early, timely termination is used, which makes managing them easier. To view previous questions and answers, visit {farmweek now.com/customPage.aspx?p =544}.

Questions may be emailed to kayship@ilfb.org add “Discover Cover Crops” in the subject line or mail to Discover Cover Crops, Kay Shipman, 1701 Towanda Ave., Bloomington, Ill. 61701.

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FORAGE

FarmWeek Page 10 Monday, May 26, 2014

Hay production off to slow start; prices rise BY DANIEL GRANT FarmWeek

Hay supplies currently stack up better than a year ago when prices raced to record highs. U.S. hay stocks as of May 1 totaled 19.2 million tons, up 5 million tons from last year. But the situation could get tight again quickly, which could prompt another run up in prices. Hay production got off to a slow start this spring and the supply of premium hay subsequently tightened in recent months, according to Kendall Guither, a hay producer from Davis and president of the Illinois Forage and Grassland Council. “We’re three weeks behind schedule cutting hay (due to slow development of the crop caused by abnormally cold temperatures and recent rains that limited fieldwork),” Guither told FarmWeek. “This (slow start) is going to just about take away a cutting for the year.” Guither as of last week baled 100 acres of hay with another 80 acres on the

ground. He typically completes the first cutting around May 1. Rains slowed baling activity in recent weeks. Some farmers also opted to delay hay production to finish planting corn and soybeans. “Now we’re in a situation where the hay is growing well, but with continuous fronts coming through, for a lot of people making dry hay is difficult if not impossible,” Guither said. “The supply of premium

hay is nonexistent right now.” Hay prices in recent months climbed in response. The nationwide alfalfa hay price increased from $185 per ton in January to $206 this month. The average price of all other hay increased from $129 per ton in February to $151 this month. Prices for hay last year peaked at $221 per ton for alfalfa and $157 per ton for other hay.

“Already prices for all other hay are approaching the record highs of 2013 despite much higher stocks on hand,” authors of the CME Group Daily Livestock Report noted. “There is a strong impetus to secure needs for the coming months.” Demand for hay could grow as U.S. cattle producers hold back heifers in an effort to rebuild the beef herd. USDA in its monthly cattle on feed report estimated the number of cattle and calves on feed nationwide on May 1 totaled 10.6 million head, down 1 percent from last year. Placements in feedlots in April (1.64 million head) declined 5 percent, while marketings (1.78 million) dipped 2 percent. Meanwhile, drought in the western U.S. and parts of the southern Plains threatens hay

production and already forced some producers in states such as California, Kansas, Oklahoma and Texas to thin herds. About one quarter of the 58.3 million acres of hay expected to be harvested this year are in those four droughtinflicted states, according to the Daily Livestock Report. “If there are harvest problems, the premium hay market could be short on supply, high on demand and pricey,” Guither said. “Weather in the next three months will be critical,” authors of the Daily Livestock report noted. “Hay supplies in some parts of the country will remain tight due to drought pressures.” Pasture conditions in Illinois last week were rated 61 percent good to excellent, 34 percent fair and 5 percent poor to very poor.

Dairy farm to host July forage expo

Forage harvesting demonstrations and forage management sessions will highlight the 2014 Illinois Forage Expo July 17 hosted by the Tony Snow family near Mulberry Grove. The Snows raise dairy cattle in a forage-based, intensive grazing operation, including a 70-by-260-foot hoop shed compost barn using cornstalks for bedding. The event gets under way at 9 a.m. and will conclude at 3 p.m. Forage-related products and equipment will be displayed. Producers may enter harvested bales and haylage in a Quality Hay & Haylage Contest at no cost. Entries must be delivered on site from 8:30 to 10 a.m. Near infrared reflectance spectroscopy analysis will be provided free of charge. Bales weighing more than 100 pounds will need an official scale weigh ticket. Four hay classes and one haylage class will be available, and class winners will receive a certificate. Co-sponsors include the Illinois Forage and Grassland Council, University of Illinois Extension and USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service. For more information, visit {illinoisforage.org}.

Check winter wheat for signs of Fusarium head blight

As wheat plants begin to head out and flower, growers may want to check the crop for Fusarium head blight (FHB). Also known as scab, the disease can rob yields, and reduce test weight and overall grain quality. Carl Bradley, University of Illinois plant pathologist, added the fungus can produce toxins, such as vomitoxin, that contaminate the grain. He noted grain containing high vomitoxin levels may be discounted or rejected at grain elevators. Multiple fungicides are registered for use on wheat, but only a few have efficacy in managing FHB. Those fungicides include Caramba (BASF Corporation), Prosaro (Bayer CropScience), Proline (Bayer CropScience) and products that contain tebuconazole as their solo active ingredient.

Bradley noted Prosaro and Caramba have achieved the best results in multi-state university field research trials. “Proper fungicide application timing is critical in achieving the best efficacy. The best application timing is when plants are beginning to flower (early anthesis — Feekes growth stage 10.5.1), but some efficacy may still be achieved slightly before or after that stage,” he said. A FHB prediction tool can be viewed at {wheatscab.psu.edu}. Visit {bulletin.ipm.illinois.edu/?p =2081} for information on the most effective fungicides at different application times. The condition of the wheat crop in Illinois last week was rated 62 percent good to excellent, 29 percent fair and 9 percent poor or very poor.


RURAL LIFE

Page 11 Monday, May 26, 2014 FarmWeek

FIELD MOMS TAKE PLANTING TOURS

IFB photo contest starts June 1

Bring rural life into focus by taking and submitting pictures in the annual Illinois Farm Bureau member photography contest. Themed “Picture Illinois,” the contest contains three categories: These Boots Are Made For ... , Country Kids and Rural Routes. Entries must be photos taken in Illinois in 2012 or after by amateur photographers. The grand prize winner will receive $150, while three, first-place winners will each receive $75. Three, second-place winners will each receive $25. A photo selected as members’ choice at

IFB’s 2014 Annual Meeting in December will receive $50. The contest runs from June 1 to Nov. 1. Winners will be announced in the spring 2015 issue of Partners magazine and in FarmWeek in January 2015. IFB and affiliated company employees and their immediate family members are not eligible. To view previous winning photos, obtain the complete contest rules and enter online, go to {ilfbphotos.org}. For questions or to obtain the contest rules and entry form by mail, contact Dawn Heggie at 309-557-2293 or dheggie@ilfb.org.

Illinois farmers received $661 million in crop insurance payments last year. Considering policyholders paid $824 million in insurance premiums, the losses resulted in a .8 crop loss ratio — less than the drought year of 2012, but slightly more than the 2000-2012 average, according to University of Illinois’ Gary Schnitkey. Insurance payments in 2013 can be attributed to a price drop for corn, the ag economist reported in farmdoc Daily. Performance of three crops — corn, soybeans and wheat — determines the overall insurance performance in Illinois, he said. Overall, 19.1 million acres of farmland were insured last year. Other findings reported in far-

mdoc included: • Of the $824 million in premiums paid in Illinois last year, farmers paid $368 million. The federal government paid $456 million in risk subsidies to crop insurance companies. • The .8 loss ratio for Illinois is the second highest ratio since 2000. The drought of 2012 brought the highest loss ratio at 4.56. • The .8 loss ratio in Illinois is lower than the 2013 national average loss ratio of 1.01. The loss ratios for nearby states varied: 2.15 for Iowa, 1.51 for Wisconsin, .38 for Indiana, .37 for Kentucky and 1.01 for Missouri.  To learn more, go to {farm docdaily.illinois.edu/2014/05/ 2013-crop-insurance-perfor mance-in-illinois.html}.

Crop insurance incurs loss

Planting season means tour time for Illinois Farm Families ® Field Moms. Above left, Paul Jeschke of Mazon, in white jacket, shows Chicago Field Moms corn planting progress. Left, Tyson Dollinger, Jeschke’s nephew, tells Sara McGuire how a planter works. During the recent tour, the moms learned about crop chemical use, ethanol, water/soil conservation and food products containing corn and soybeans. Above right, Field Moms representing Illinois Farm Bureau and its affiliates talk with Towanda farmer Dan Kelley, far right, and Dan Harms of Birkey’s about planting equipment during their inaugural tour. The first class of affiliate Field Moms includes, from left, Jessica McConnaughay and Nicole Volak of COUNTRY Financial and Devon Flammang, Illinois Farm Bureau nurse. (Photos by Ken Kashian and Cyndi Cook)

There’s a difference between field experts and experts in the field. At FS, we’re experts in the field. Our crop specialists are driven to maximize every acre and bring the latest agronomic technologies and innovations to your farm. Whether recommending the appropriate opriate hybrid or varietyy,, nutrient management m for optimum growth, or advice on disease and pest management, our crop specialists are always focused on pointing your operations forward. So, the only thing you’ll be asking FS is, what’’s next?

www w.fssystem.com

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©2013 GROWMARK, Inc. A14141


EDUCATION

FarmWeek Page 12 Monday, May 26, 2014

New standards making science hands-on, real world BY KAY SHIPMAN FarmWeek

The excited students laughed as their paper helicopters fluttered to the floor, forgetting they were adults and their experimental aircraft represented teaching tools. Last week’s Illinois Agriculture in the Classroom (IAITC) demonstration illustrated Chris Embry Melinda Charbonneau, left, Ogle/Carroll County Farm Bureau ag literacy Mohr’s point of the need to coordinator, and Luke Allen, District 2 and urban program advisor for Facili- teach science by “doing.” tating Coordination in Agricultural Education, test their helicopter models. The Olympia High School Danny Mielneczek, IFB education specialist in white shirt, explained science science teacher gave county ag literacy coordinators a in aviation and its ties to agriculture. (Photo by Ken Kashian)

crash course on new state science education standards adopted in February. “As a science teacher, I’m excited because finally we have standards that talk about the real world,” Mohr said. Mohr, a former high school agriculture teacher, helped write the national Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS). School districts and teachers across Illinois are developing ways to teach the new standards in kindergarten through 12th grade. Schools must fully imple-

ment NGSS by the 2016-17 school year “so we have two years to prepare,” Mohr noted. The standards focus on scientific and engineering practices, core ideas and cross-connecting concepts. One of the biggest shifts from the current standards will be applying science to real world situations, according to Mohr. Plus, teaching core concepts occurs throughout the school year, she added. “Every day, kids should be doing science while making connections to whatever the concept is, and connect to other ideas,” Mohr said. Students probably won’t race through the curriculum because the goal will be to master concepts rather than skim a large number of them, according to Mohr. NGSS “is slowing down (the instruction pace), determining what is essential and what’s not essential, and kids understanding and not superficial learning,” she explained. In August, ag literacy coordinators will receive daylong instruction on applying agriculture to NGSS from Mohr. A second daylong program will cover using IAITC resources to teach Common Core standards for math, English and language arts.

Dairy Classic golf outing on June 6

The University of Illinois hosts its 11th annual Illini Dairy Classic golf outing June 6. Proceeds support the U of I dairy judging team and dairy challenge team. Registration for the golf outing begins at 11 a.m. (a sack lunch will be provided) and the four-person scramble begins at 12:15 p.m. at the U of I Orange Course in Savoy. An Illinois Dairy Classic barbecue and live benefit auction will be held for golfers and other dairy team supporters at 4 p.m. at the golf course pavilion. In the event of rain, the barbecue and auction will begin at 2 p.m. Those interested in sponsoring or participating in the golf outing or barbecue should contact Gene McCoy (217-8400157) or HiDee Ekstrom (217333-4397).


FROM THE COUNTIES

Page 13 Monday, May 26, 2014 FarmWeek

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DAMS – Farm Bureau will sponsor a dinner for young people interested in livestock production at 6 p.m. June 16 at Sprout’s Inn, Quincy. Matt Starr, Illinois Farm Bureau District 9 young leader, will speak along with representatives of Illinois Livestock Development Group, Illinois Pork Producers Association and Illinois Soybean Association (ISA). Dinner will be sponsored by ISA. Call the Farm Bureau office at 217222-7305 to register. OOK — Farm Bureau will sponsor a bee apiary visit at 1 p.m. June 10 at Lyman Woods in Downers Grove. Marge Trocki, naturalist, will conduct the tour. Call the Farm Bureau office at 708354-3276 or email member shipdebbie@cookcfb.org for reservations by June 6. ENRY — Henry and Stark County Farm Bureaus will host an Agriculture in the Classroom golf outing June 13 at Baker Park Golf Course in Kewanee. Call the Farm Bureau office at 9372411 to register. ASALLE — Farm Bureau’s 100th anniversary celebration will be at 11

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Fire, police departments receive donated wall maps Arista Peneton, Lawrence-Allison Fire Protection District (LAFPD) trustee, left, and Mike Mefford, LAFPD chief, discuss the new 2014 Lawrence County landowner wall map donated by Lawrence County Farm Bureau. (Photo by Tyler Harvey, Lawrence County Farm Bureau manager)

Large maps featuring Lawrence County landowners and rural roads leading to their farms and residences grace fire and police department walls. Lawrence County Farm Bureau donated five, 36inch by 36-inch wall maps to assist local protection units in responding to rural incidents. “With the success our new 2014 plat book is having, we wanted to make a difference in the community,” said Tyler Harvey,

Tuesday: • “FarmWeek: The Early Word” • Tamara Nelsen, Illinois Farm Bureau: 2014 Market Study Tour • Cyndi Cook, IFB: IFB photo contest • Tom Vilsack, U.S. Secretary of Agriculture: immigration Wednesday: • Eric Pollitt, Global Hemp: passage of the industrial hemp bill • Courtney Gerstenecker, RFD Radio Network • Chris Wiant, Caring for Colorado Foundation: summer health myths • Lindsey Henson, Illinois Soybean Association: Young Farmers livestock information dinner Thursday:

Lawrence County Farm Bureau manager. “What better way than to provide new, updated landowner maps of the county to our local protection units. We never hope for an emergency, but when one arises, maybe these maps could help make a difference.” New plat books became available in April. That’s when members decided o donate county maps featuring every township to local emergency personnel. • Tim Maiers, Illinois Pork Producers Association: World Pork Expo • Troy Frerichs, COUNTRY Financial: Are you saving enough for retirement? • Kevin Concannon, USDA: farmers’ markets and the SNAP program • Gary Hudson, Illinois Corn Growers Association: association elections Friday: • GROWMARK representative • Jenny Jackson, IFB: new role as youth ambassador • Tom Saxe, southern Illinois livestock farmer: state of the cattle industry • “Horse Talk” To find a radio station near you that carries the RFD Radio Network, go to FarmWeekNow.com, click on “Radio,” then click on “Affiliates.”

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a.m. June 21 at the Farm Bureau building. Contact the Farm Bureau office at 4330371 if you have LaSalle County Farm Bureau agricultural history memorabilia. Deadline to drop off items is June 13. EE — Farm Bureau will co-sponsor 2014 Summer Ag Institute II June 16 at the Farm Bureau office and June 17 in the Quad Cities for kindergarten through grade 12 teachers. Call the Farm Bureau office at 857-3531, or email aitc.leecfb@comcast.net for registration and pricing details. Reservation deadline is Friday. EORIA — Farm Bureau will sponsor a market outlook meeting at 6:30 p.m. June 17 at Farm Bureau Park near Kickapoo. Chuck Doubet, Agland FS, and Herb Meyer, 1st Farm Credit Services, will speak. Cost is $5. Call the Farm Bureau office at 6867070 for reservations by June 12.

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


PROFITABILITY

FarmWeek Page 14 Monday, May 26, 2014

Surveys show farmland prices coming back to earth BY DANIEL GRANT FarmWeek

The skyrocketing farmland market couldn’t sustain its momentum forever. After racing to record highs in recent years, it appears farmland values began the descent back to earth last quarter based on findings of two separate surveys of ag bankers conducted by the Federal Reserve Bank. The value of good farmland in the Seventh Federal Reserve District, made up of the northern half of Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Michigan and Wisconsin, declined 1 percent from Jan. 1 to April 1. In northern Illinois, the value of good farmland during that time declined 4 percent, the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago reported. Elsewhere, the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis reported the average price of quality farmland in its district, including southern Illinois,

declined from $5,868 per acre the fourth quarter last year to $5,496 per acre the first quarter this year. The St. Louis District also includes all or parts of Arkansas, Indiana, Kentucky, Mississippi, Missouri and Tennessee. Kevin Kliesen, regional economist at the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, believes a number of factors contributed to the recent softening of farmland values. Farmland prices in Illinois the previous four years increased a whopping 66 percent. “Clearly, most crop prices are below last year’s levels,” Kliesen told FarmWeek. “Interest rates obviously have an impact. And some bankers may be expecting higher interest rates going forward.” It’s also possible farmland prices in some areas got ahead of fundamentals in recent years. “It could be a correction, or it could be something else,” Kliesen said.

Cash rental rates mirrored the decline in farmland prices in many areas. The Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago reported a 2 percent decline in cash rental rates from 2013 to 2014. Cash rental rates in the Eighth Federal Reserve District (St. Louis) during the first quarter this year averaged $182 per acre, down 4 percent from last year. “Cash rents intuitively follow land values,” Kliesen said. “I expect those to move pretty closely over time.” Fortunately, Kliesen does not foresee a major collapse of the farmland market at this time. “I think this cycle is different,” he said. “A lot of the boom in the 1970s was driven by leverage, kind of like the house price bubble (in the early 2000s). “I don’t really see that in this farmland market,” he continued. “There’s a lot more equity in these loans than there was 30 years ago. As far as I can tell, the ag sector is still fairly healthy.”

The ‘what if ’ mentality about ag technology meets reality

The dreamers of the world have always asked the question, “what if ?” What if we could put a man on the moon? What if we could make a machine think? What if we could make a plant resistant to a certain chemical? What if we could map the DNA code of a plant or animal and understand what makes each gene good or bad? What if we could predict the future? That’s some heavy stuff. More and more science fiction is becoming reality. Just a few years ago, there were no smartphones, no iPads, no FaceTime. I remember when BY LANCE RUPPERT

making a mobile phone call was a “what if.” That is no longer the case. A huge factor in our world today and going forward is Moore’s Law. This rule states that the amount of computing capacity doubles every 18 to 24 months. Now think about that in a simple manner. Each child will lose 20 baby teeth. Those teeth will be put under a pillow and a magical exchange occurs — a tooth for a sum of money. Let’s say you offer a child a dollar for every tooth or start at a penny for the first tooth and double the amount for each subsequent tooth. Which

M A R K E T FA C T S Feeder pig prices reported to USDA* Total Composite Weighted Average Receipts and Price (Formula and Cash): Weight Range Per Head Weighted Ave. Price 10-12 lbs. (formula) $38.00-$54.95 $44.87 40 lbs. (cash) $105.00-$120.00 $114.56 Receipts

This Week 66,141 *Eastern Corn Belt prices picked up at seller’s farm

Last Week 62,632

Eastern Corn Belt direct hogs (plant delivered) Carcass Live

(Prices $ per hundredweight) This week Prev. week Change NA NA NA NA NA NA

USDA five-state area slaughter cattle price (Thursday’s price)

Steers Heifers

This week $ 143.94 $144.00

Prev. week $146.55 $146.52

Change $-2.61 $-2.52

CME feeder cattle index — 600-800 Lbs. This is a composite price of feeder cattle transactions in 27 states. (Prices $ per hundredweight) Prev. week Change This week $189.35 $184.25 $5.10

Lamb prices Negotiated, wooled and shorn, 130-167 lbs. for 135-155 $/cwt. (wtd. ave. 147.61); 170-200 lbs. for 135-145 $/cwt. (wtd. ave. 144.95)

Export inspections (Million bushels) Week ending Soybeans Wheat Corn 5/15/2014 6.2 20.3 41.7 5/8/2014 8.8 23.1 47.7 Last year 3.8 21.2 14.6 Season total 1538.2 1109.1 1240.4 Previous season total 1259.9 966.2 516.2 USDA projected total 1580 1175 1750 Crop marketing year began June 1 for wheat and Sept. 1 for corn and soybeans.

one would they choose? Which one would you choose? Most children would quickly say, “I’ll take $1 per tooth.” That would provide the child $20. But if they chose the doubling of the penny for every tooth, they would be paid Lance Ruppert $5,242.88 for the 20th tooth and $10,485.75 total. Most people see and process immediate information, but don’t take time to

look deeper. The amount of computing capacity in the world today makes many things that were once “what if ’s,” become very real, very soon. What if we could have sensors in every field on every plant to tell us exactly what the plant is doing? What if we had sensors in the soil telling us the moisture content and amount of nitrogen available to the plant? What would we do with this information to make better management decisions? Today, we are just seeing the tip of the iceberg when it

comes to these new “what if ’s” evolving into reality. Although it is human nature to be skeptical and want to hold on to the information that grounds each of us, the ability to be open-minded and look at how new technology, information and ideas can help us grow and improve in the future may help answer the question of “what if ” I succeed or fail.

way to showcase GROWMARK and Illinois Farm Bureau,” said Kennedy. “We want to grow crops in the two islands year-

round. We’ll probably cut the soybeans before they mature and plant winter wheat. Cover crops might be possible, too.”

Lance Ruppert serves as GROWMARK’s agronomy marketing and IMP manager. His email address is lruppert@growmark.com.

Soybeans sprout in IFB parking lot

BY CHRIS ANDERSON FarmWeek Illinois Agricultural Association (IAA) building visitors may think they’ve parked in the middle of a farm this summer. Two, large seedbeds located in the visitor parking lot should soon sprout FS HiSOY soybeans. “It all started last year when we were landscaping. Mr. Nelson (former IFB president Philip Nelson) joked that we should plant corn and soybeans. I thought, why not,” said Mark Wilson, IAA building, grounds and administrative services director. Wilson and Nick Kennedy, an IAA maintenance employee overseeing the soybean project, teamed to make the idea reality. Kennedy also works with Josh Richey, GROWMARK seed operations director, who supplied seed and will offer growing tips throughout the season. While this marks the first attempt to grow soybeans, maintenance personnel seeded corn near the farmer and plow statue last year. A hungry horde of rabbits devastated the crop before it could produce ears. “When visitors come to our parking lot, they will know exactly where they are. This is a great

It’s planting time at Illinois Farm Bureau. Maintenance personnel Nick Kennedy, foreground, and Gordon Whitmar plant FS HiSOY® soybeans in a visitor parking lot seedbed. GROWMARK donated the seed. Plans include planting wheat this fall once soybeans mature. (Photo by Chris Anderson)


PROFITABILITY

Page 15 Monday, May 26, 2014 FarmWeek

CASH STRATEGIST

Planting has gone better than expected

In the wake of the fears with this year’s late start to spring, planting has gone reasonably well in the Midwest. That’s not to say problems don’t exist, but the impact has been marginalized. Corn yields have a definite bias toward trend yield and above if planting is 50 percent complete by mid-May. This year, we were 73 percent done. Soybean yields are more variable with late-season growing conditions historically having more important influence. But if plantings are 55 to 60 percent done by May 25, history tends to point to good yield potential. The trade is looking for the weekly report on May 27 to show plantings are that far along. This generally implies the

yields USDA projected on May 9 are not out of reason, 165.3 and 45.2 bushels for corn and soybeans, respectively. A private weather firm forecast even slightly higher levels at a grain meeting in Chicago last week. And we know from history that yields have a tendency to be higher during an El Nino. Maybe more important in the near term is the actual size of plantings. Extreme delays in the northern Plains, and final insurance planting dates for spring wheat and corn coming this week, may start to alter the acreage picture. It may not necessarily bring a huge leap in prevent plant acres with the soybean insurance date on June 10. Weather over the next 2 to 4 weeks may offer clues to the planting mix and the level of prevent plant acres. But many private acreage forecasts already assume 3.5 to 4 million prevent plant acres.

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Corn Strategy

ü2013 crop: Good planting progress, weather and collapsing wheat prices are weighing on old-crop corn prices. Still, we believe short-term downside risk is limited. Hold off making additional sales for now. Use price weakness to lock in the basis on any hedge-to-arrive contracts. ü2014 crop: If anything, the lag in planting in the north could trim corn plantings. Although if weather holds, that could be limited. Given the new-crop demand forecast, even a minor weather scare should bring another marketing opportunity. Refrain from making sales for now. vFundamentals: The trade is thinking corn plantings will be near three-quarters complete on the May 27 report. If northern Plains weather holds, acreage shifting could be limited, leaving corn plantings near the 92 million acre level. Given the planting pace and general weather conditions, we’d expect the first condition report to be reasonably good. That may put the burden on sparking the next rally on the June 30 planting report.

Cents per bu.

Soybean Strategy

ü2013 crop: Old news about Chinese imports triggered a surge in soybean prices last week, but buying quickly subsided after reaching new highs. Prices might hold firm, but just like last year, without any warning, prices could quickly implode. Price old-crop bushels. ü2014 crop: Strength in the old-crop prices is the only feature lifting the new-crop market. New-crop exports are not as robust as last year. Get new-crop sales to recommended levels now. vFundamentals: Speculative enthusiasm lifts soybeans with ongoing uncertainty about imports playing a part. Within a week, another couple of ships laden with Brazilian soybeans are due to arrive in the U.S. A couple more with Argentine soybean meal appear headed to the southeast U.S. Argentine harvest has been slowed by weather. Farmers are slow to sell because of currency issues again. That only pushes more supply into competing with our new crop.

Wheat Strategy

ü2013 crop: Ongoing weakness drops the target for pricing remaining old-crop bushels down to $6.75. ü2014 crop: The trade will keep an eye on spring wheat planting progress, knowing that some intended acres could be switched to soybeans if delays persist in the northern Plains. Winter wheat conditions remain important; we could see producers abandon parts of the crop. Favorable weather for spring planting and winter crop harvesting would weigh on

prices. We recommend being 40 to 50 percent sold, more if you plan on marketing your wheat at harvest. But at this time, wait for Chicago July futures to rebound to at least $6.85. vFundamentals: Even after a significant break in prices the previous two weeks, U.S. wheat still trades at a premium to world prices. Export sales will suffer until something gives. The fundamentals stack against the complex as we will carry abundant world inventories into what looks to be another marketing year of solid production.


PERSPECTIVES

FarmWeek Page 16 Monday, May 26, 2014

Ag’s mission impossible: feeding 7 billion

(FarmWeek file photo)

Nonfarmers, farm machinery must learn to share the road

Farming season is a time everyone in the industry looks forward to every year. Spring through fall, it’s a time cherished by those whose lives revolve around farming. Working ground, mowing hay and planting is a time-honored tradition for many people. What if I were to say I don’t look forward to farming season 100 percent? You might say, “If that’s the case, you might be in the wrong profession,” or “Then why do you farm?” The answer is I love farming, and I wouldn’t want to do anything else. The reason I dislike farming season is not for the lack of sleep, the long hours or even the poor eating habits that I DANIEL take on to get myself through the days, but the GVILLO travel time between fields. I do my best to drive safe for everyone involved. I watch behind me and anticipate traffic in front of me to ensure safe travels for everyone. I do realize everyone is in a hurry, and I help by letting people drive around me when it’s safe for everyone involved. What I don’t enjoy are the people who get behind a slow moving vehicle and act as if they are “king of the road” and invincible. The first thing they do is get right behind you and start veering around you, as if to say, “I’m back here, and I’m in a hurry so let me around.” Some even pass on curves, hills and even bridges to try to save time. What I do enjoy, however, are the people who slow down to pass and wait for a good position to try and pass. They are the ones who realize we, too, are in a hurry. We have a higher perspective on the road and are aware they want to pass and get back to their travels. As agriculturalists, I feel we need to help educate our nonfarmer cousins to ensure safety for all involved on the road. Let them know that we aren’t driving the roads to impede their travels, but only trying to feed the world! Daniel Gvillo of Alton represents District 15 on the Illinois Farm Bureau Young Leaders Committee. Keep up with the Young Leaders by visiting {www.ilfb.org/get-involved/young-leaders/yl-blog}.

In 1969, the United States accomplished a feat once thought impossible — sending a man to the moon. This accomplishment was not completed overnight; it was comprised of small steps that contributed to the overall success. In the end, one man CLARA KNIPP represented the accomguest columnist plishment for all mankind. As astronaut Neil Armstrong illustrated in the quote, “One small step for man, one giant leap for mankind,” small steps lead to overall success of a challenge. Farmers annually face the challenge of feeding 7 billion people in 365 days. Although this task may seem daunting, each individual involved in agriculture — whether a farmer, researcher or educator — contributes one small step in meeting the challenge of feeding the world. Farmers have been the basis of a stable food supply since humans strived to withdraw their nomadic traditions. Now, for the human race to survive, production agriculture must strive for sustainability. Farmers need to continue reducing environmental outputs in order to conserve such elements as soil and water, and ensure their use for future generations. If sustainable practices are not utilized, each following generation of farmers will have to feed exponentially more people with fewer resources. Researchers hold the key to developing efficient animal production practices and biotechnology that can increase yields and reduce the effects of risks like drought and water shortages.

Technology developed by researchers can equip farmers with the most efficient production knowledge and assist them in maximizing production capabilities. As the gap between urban and rural lifestyles widens, it is the responsibility of people involved in the agriculture industry to advocate about agriculture and all it encompasses. Since consumers are beginning to influence production practices, it is vital consumers realize the connection between farm and food. If consumers understand the process of growing food and the regulations farmers face, they are given insight as to how they affect agriculture through their voting rights. With this knowledge, consumers can make educated decisions about policies, and farmers can hope to avoid regulations that would be detrimental to their freedom to operate. It is the responsibility of everyone involved in the agriculture industry to employ the title of educator. Just like the mission to land on the moon was completed with small steps, agriculture must complete the challenge to feed the world day by day. Everyone involved in the agriculture industry has a role in feeding the world. When small steps by individuals involved in agriculture are combined, a giant leap occurs in completing the mission of feeding 7 billion people in 365 days. With the cooperation of everyone, we can accomplish a feat once thought impossible.

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“Updating technology and the Common Core (learning Editor’s note: Kay Shipstandards) we man asked county ag litneed, so we eracy coordinators last on the county level are an week how Illinois Agriculemail or a ture in the Classroom can click away. We definitely receive continue being involved in that from the people in Bloomclassrooms given an ington.”

”Teachers have to realize how much agriculture intertwines with learning standards. Several teaching aspects can be met through teaching Ag in the Classroom.”

Ericka Crist Douglas County

Chelsea Reeves Madison County

increased emphasis on standardized testing.

Clara Knipp of Tipton, Mo., is a high school student and winner of the Agriculture Council of America’s 2014 National Ag Day Essay Contest.

“The handson activities we can provide give a more indepth look for students. Not all students can learn by reading from books; they need tactile learning.”

Dawn Weinberg Hancock County

“We have to align anything we’re doing with Common Core, and we have to give teachers those alignments (so they can tell their principals) this will hit this standard and that standard.”

Suzi Myers Kane County Farm Bureau

Farmweek may 26, 2014  

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