University of Illinois Extension

Illini Farm Report


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Illini Farm Report

Todd E. Gleason

1301 W. Gregory Dr., Rm 75 MC710

Urbana, Illinois 61801

217-333-9697 or


October 24, 2014


Dear Broadcaster:


The Illini Farm Report is for use in your agricultural radio programming slots. You are welcome to run each story "as is," or to lift actualities from it. For your editing convenience, the scripts used for each story are included in this document. If you have any problems with the audio, story ideas, or suggestions for improvements, please call me at 217-3339697.


1          Consequences of Delayed Soybean Planting in Brazil


2          Scout Weeds from the Combine Cab


3          Record Cattle Prices, Again & Again


4          Edamame; The Future of the Soybean


5          Soy Foods Protect Against Colon Cancer


The opinions expressed on the Illini Farm Report are not necessarily those of the program producer, the University of Illinois College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences or U of I Extension. Our programs feature a wide range of viewpoints in the interest of promoting awareness and discussion of issues that are important to the agricultural community.


CUT 1 Consequences of Delayed Soybean Planting in Brazil

Mike Tannura, tStorm Weather – Chicago, Illinois


Many areas of Brazil are dry to the point that farmers there have delayed planting soybeans. Todd Gleason has more on the weather conditions and what it might mean later in the year to the world markets.


Farmers will plant a crop if it is at all possible…



Farmers will plant a crop if it is at all possible. This is a true statement across the planet. Right now farmers in Brazil are waiting to put in the soybean crop. It’s just been too dry to start the planting season says University of Illinois alum, agricultural economist, and tStorm Weather meteorologist Mike Tannura.


Tannura :46  Many areas are running two inch to four inch…

…at the beginning of the planting season.


Again, Brazilian farmers must wait for rain to fall, replenishing dry soils, before they start sowing the soybean crop.


Tannura :10  So they must have that first big rain…

…fall behind schedule.


Behind, but it doesn’t mean the crop won’t get planted. The fact is it will. However, Brazilian farmers enjoy a very long growing season and more often than not will plant a second full season crop after the first one is harvested. The second, or safrina, crop is the planting in jeopardy says Mike Tannura.


Tannura :51  First crops are planted now, that is the crop we are talking about…

…and these issues will linger for several months.


No doubt dogging the commodity markets, the price of corn, all the way into next summer as concerns ebb and flow about the size of the second crop corn harvest in Brazil.



CUT 2             Scout Weeds from the Combine Cab

Aaron Hager, Extension Weed Scientist – University of Illinois


Farmers should take notes from the combine cab this fall about the weeds in their fields. Todd Gleason has more on the reason why.


The combine cab is the last opportunity most farmers…



The combine cab is the last opportunity most farmers have to evaluate how well their weed control program worked for the year and one they should take advantage of says University of Illinois Extension Weed Scientist Aaron Hager.


 Hager :14  And we certainly encourage farmers as they go through the harvest…

…actually performed this year.


The weed patches they see in their fields this fall, be it waterhemp or Palmer amaranth, velvet leaf, giant ragweed or any other weed are a good clue to how well their current herbicide program worked, and more importantly what they can expect to battle next season.


Hager :14  It is a very good likelihood that what you see this fall…

…those will be your dominant weed species in 2015.


If those species are summer annuals – waterhemp, palmer amaranth, giant ragweed – then there is very clearly thinks Aaron Hager nothing to do this fall. If those weeds are winter annuals – marestail (horseweed), henbit, chickweed, or purple deadnettle – those might be worth a fall herbicide application.



CUT 3             Record Cattle Prices, Again & Again

Chris Hurt, Ag Economist – Purdue University Extension


The price of cattle just keeps going up. Todd Gleason has more on the classic beef cattle production cycle.


The price of beef has been skyrocketing…



The price of beef has been skyrocketing all year long. It started the year at around a dollar-thirty-five per pound at the exchange in Chicago. It was record high price. In March the price had jumped again. This time to a dollar and fifty cents a pound… that’s live weight. By July a dollar fifty was nothing special and it cost another dime to buy the same pound of beef on the hoof. October has seen another record breaker, another dime, and live cattle futures in Chicago topped a $1.70 a pound, or as Purdue Extension Ag Economist Chris Hurt frames it, $170 for a hundred pounds.


Hurt :64  For the first time ever finished cattle…

…thus pulling down beef supplies.


The current cattle production cycle is at the end of an eight-year slide in beef cattle numbers. Back in 2006 beef cow numbers in the United States topped at about thirty-two-point-seven million head. That number had dropped by eleven percent, or to around 29 million head, at the beginning of this year. The available supply shrunk away and the price rally in response has caused cattle producers to try and rebuild numbers. It is classic beef cycle economics says Chris Hurt.


Hurt :33  There are two ways in which cattle producers rebuild the herd…

…is through heifer retention.


The evidence clearly states beef cattle producers are holding back heifers. The number of heifers coming to the plant for harvest has dropped by 9 percent this year over last. Taking the cows and the heifers out of an already depleted beef cattle supply has most certainly had an effect.


Hurt :33  Using the year-to-date rate of reduction…

…lowering slaughter numbers by over five percent.


Eventually, this all means the number of beef cattle coming to market will begin to build, but not yet thinks Chris Hurt. Nor does he believe the highest beef cattle prices have been put on the tote board.


Hurt :33  The reasons are because the size each year’s…

…and into much of sixteen.


The other side of the argument says while beef cattle supplies may continue to shrink through 2016, the high price of beef will cause consumers to turn to alternative protein sources and demand for beef may slack. Hurt thinks this could shorten the window of opportunity for new highs in the beef cattle futures to this fall and winter.




CUT 4 Edamame; The Future of the Soybean

Marty Williams, Ecologist – USDA ARS University of Illinois


There are more than 77 million acres of soybeans in the United States. Very few of these beans will be consumed out of the pod. But, as Todd Gleason reports, there is a push to grow more varieties suitable for vegetable crop production.


We’re all familiar with fields of soybeans…



We’re all familiar with fields of soybeans, even if we don’t recognize the crop. It is grown and harvested in the Mississippi River Valley from New Orleans to Minnesota. The soybean pods hang brown and fuzzy just waiting for the farmer to combine them. But what if we took just a few of those 77 million acres and harvested the pods while they were still green. That’s when we call it Edamame (RADIO ONLY:  …says University of Illinois researcher Marty Williams).


Williams :25  Immature soybeans. Yes. Vegetable soybeans…

…the traditional soybeans.


A soybean breeder at ILLINOIS saw the potential to make good tasting vegetable crop soybeans, and Dick Bernard did. It’s just now that vegetable processors in the United States are seeing enough local demand to think about contracting a few acres to be harvested, and ILLINOIS is again involved. This time doing weed science research.


Williams :22  Work we are doing here is looking at crop tolerance…

…in a package to manage weeds in this crop.


Which is a whole lot different than managing weeds in soybeans. Really.


Williams :31  Edamame is glycinemax, the same species as soybean…

…and crops like that.


It means a path is already in place for the production and human consumption safe management of edamame. It’s just a matter of companies in the United States deciding to contract grow and harvest the green soybean.



CUT 5 Soy Foods Protect Against Colon Cancer


University of Illinois scientists have evidence that lifelong exposure to genistein, a bioactive component in soy foods, protects against colon cancer. It represses a signal that leads to accelerated growth of cells, polyps, and eventually malignant tumors.


The U of I study of soy in foods…



The U of I study of soy in foods reports changes in the expression of three genes that control an important signaling pathway. Hong Chen is a U of I professor of food science and human nutrition, and says the cells in the lining of the human gut turn over and are completely replaced weekly. However, in 90 percent of colon cancer patients, an important growth-promoting signal is always on, leading to uncontrolled growth and malignancies. The study she has done suggests this signaling during the development of colon cancer can be regulated by soy-rich diets.


Chronic exposure, meaning a lot, to genistein, a soy isoflavone, reduced the number of pre-cancerous lesions in the colons of laboratory rats exposed to a carcinogen by 40 percent and reduced the signaling to normal levels.


In their study, the scientists modeled lifetime exposure to soy by feeding pregnant rats and their offspring a diet containing soy protein isolate and a diet that contained genistein compound.  At seven weeks of age, offspring rats were exposed to a carcinogen, and they continued eating either the soy protein or the genistein diet until they were 13 weeks old.


At that time, the researchers inspected the colons of rats in both soy groups and compared them to rats in a control group, noting the number and severity of tiny abnormal growths in each. They also compared the signaling before and after the carcinogen to see whether either diet had any effect on its regulation.


In the genistein-fed animals, signaling levels were similar to rats that had not received the carcinogen. Genistein decreased the expression of three genes and repressed this signaling process that is associated with abnormal cell growth and cancer development concludes Chen. She says this shows colon cancer is an epigenetic disease, meaning that dietary and environmental factors can influence genes to be switched on or off so you have a different pattern of gene expression, leading to a change in disease susceptibility.


It has long been known that immigrants from Asia—where soy is traditionally a food staple—experience rising levels of colon cancer as they adopt the eating habits of the Western nations they now call home.


Therefore the genetic information you inherit from your parents is not the whole story. Dietary choices, our exposure to environmental toxins, even stress levels, affect the expression of those genes.