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


July 18, 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          Fungicides for Silage Research


2          Update on Ethanol from D.C.


3          Choosing a Scab Resistant Wheat Hybrid


4          Pork Producers Income Stream Stronger than Expected


5          Palmer Amaranth Tour Near Kankakee July 30th



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 Fungicides for Silage Research

Phil Cardoso, Extension Dairy Specialist – University of Illinois


Farmers throughout the Midwest are used to hearing about the plant health benefits of using a fungicide. However, as it relates to the actual decision to treat a cornfield, normally it comes down to economics. Will the treatment help the farmer make money. A dairy cow researcher at the University of Illinois has been wondering if the same thing might relate to corn silage. Todd Gleason has more…


Corn silage uses the whole corn plant, not just the kernel…



Corn silage uses the whole corn plant, not just the kernel. Fungicides actually treat the leaves and not the kernel. So it makes some sense that treating a corn field destined to become silage and not grain might provide a higher quality feed for dairy cattle if it were in better condition when chopped. At least that’s what University of Illinois Dairy Specialist Phil Cardoso is exploring.


Cardoso :35  And what I am doing here is starting research where we can understand…

…and cows can not handle that very well.


This is a primary goal of Cardoso’s research. Does applying a fungicide to a corn field increase the feed qualities of corn silage. He’d also like to know, if the former is the case, at what stage the fungicide should be applied to the growing corn field; the five leaf stage, at the five leaf stage and at silking or two applications, or at the previous two stages plus a third application later in the growing season. Each of the three trials will be tested.


Cardoso 1:04  And we will ensile them separately and we will feed them…

…than we know for sure.


The trial is in its very earliest stages. However some of the silage is being fed and the first observation is that the cows eat more. This may be because the treated silage is more digestable…but that is NOT known.


Here’s the reason the research is being done. Phil Cardoso says 2/3rds of the forage fed to a dairy cow should be corn silage because it is the most economical feedstuff. That’s about 27 to 28 pounds of dry matter corn silage per cow per day.


Cardoso :19  That is something that is going to probably make your diet…

…good corn silage.


The University of Illinois corn silage fungicide application and feeding trials are on going. Those interested can contact Phil Cardoso in the Department of Animal Sciences on the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign campus.




CUT 2             Update on Ethanol from D.C.

Tom Buis (bias), CEO Growth Energy – Washington, D.C.


Up next Todd Gleason has an update on the political future of ethanol.


Corn ethanol has been under much scrutiny…



Corn ethanol has been under much scrutiny in Washington, D.C. over the past year, and the United States Environmental Protection Agency has yet to issue rules related to exactly how much of the fuel can be used this calendar year in the nation’s gasoline supply. Tom Buis, the CEO of Growth Energy a pro ethanol Washington, D.C. based firm, says that’s a better sign than you might think for corn ethanol.


Buis :34  We see the delay as positive because they had to stop…

…and we want to see changes in both.


On that note of change Tom Buis has some thoughts on whether E-85 pumps, or E-15 at all gasoline pumps might be the next big step for corn ethanol in the United States?


Buis :50  I think you will see it in E-15 because the market economics…

…is the ability to offer our product to the consumer.


Tom Buis is the CEO of Growth Energy. It is a Washington, D.C. based not-for-profit group that represents producers and supporters of ethanol. He made his comments at the Lincolnland Agri-Energy ethanol plant ten year celebration in Palestine, Illinois.



CUT 3   Choosing a Scab Resistant Wheat Hybrid

Carl Bradley, Extension Plant Pathologist – University of Illinois


Wheat producers in some Illinois counties had a difficult time with a head scab this harvest. It is costly and toxic disease. Todd Gleason has more on what a farmer might do this summer in order to prevent the disease next year.


The number one thing a farmer can do to prevent…



The number one thing a farmer can do to prevent head scab in a winter wheat crop is to choose a good hybrid. That’s a decision farmers will make this summer (RADIO ONLY …says University of Illinois Extension Plant Pathologist Carl Bradley).


Bradley :18  There are some varieties that have higher resistance…

…that have the highest level of resistance.


The wheat breeder at ILLINOIS screens soft red winter wheat hybrids every year for scab resistance.


Bradley :53 And all that information is on the web at the U of I variety testing site…

…if you really seek out those resistant varieties.


Corn stubble is the culprit in this case. It carries the same fungus that creates head scab in wheat. So, when a farmer sows wheat after corn the fungus is already in the field. It sets the stage for a head scab battle.


Bradley :51  So, the other piece of management is fungicides…

…as well as other researchers in other states.


Again the number one thing to do right now to avoid a head scab problem next spring is to choose and sow a scab resistant wheat variety.




CUT 4 Pork Producers Income Stream Stronger than Expected

Chris Hurt, Extension Ag Economist – Purdue University


The outlook for pork producers is brighter than many had expected, though there is still plenty of problems to face. Todd Gleason has more with Purdue Extension Ag Economist Chris Hurt.


Pork producers might want to say thank you…



Pork producers might want to say thank you for the recent USDA reports that have sharply brightened their profit outlook thinks Chris Hurt. The first of those was the June 27th Hogs and Pigs report indicating that breeding herd expansion had not yet started and that baby pig death losses from the PED virus continued to be high last spring says the Purdue Extension Ag Economist. The second beneficial numbers came in the June 30th Grain Stocks and Acreage reports which were contributors to rapidly falling corn and soybean meal prices. It means a continuing trend of profitability for the hog producer.


Hurt :11  We’ve seen profitability in the hog business since really last fall…

…in the animal industry including hogs.


Prior to the June hog inventory report, there was an expectation that the nation’s breeding herd was growing larger, with spring farrowing intentions up two percent. However, the report showed it down fractionally and actual spring farrowings were also down modestly. And the PED virus apparently continued to inflict higher death losses in the spring than had been anticipated. While USDA does not specifically ask producers to report death losses from PEDv, they do report the number of pigs per litter. Comparing the reported number of pigs per litter this year to the five year trend provides a proxy of how PEDv has affected baby pig survival.


Hurt :30  My impression had been that we could have dropped…

…certainly could two, three, four percent right through the summer.


Again Purdue Ag Economist Chris Hurt’s reading of the USDA numbers shows baby pig death losses to PEDv began to show up in the national data last October. The rate was two percent. This expanded to three percent in November, six percent in December, and then peaked near eight percent death losses in the coldest weather months of January, February, and March. Losses appeared to be moderating somewhat with warmer weather, but were still seven percent in April and five percent in May. The death losses from PEDv, he thinks, will likely continue to trend lower this summer, but current information suggests that the disease is far from controlled. So, the number of hogs coming to market this fall and winter will be smaller than had been expected due to smaller spring farrowings and higher than expected PEDv death losses.


Producer profits were record high in the second quarter this year, near $70 per head. Continued record hog prices and now lower feed prices mean that record will fall this summer as third quarter profits are expected to be over $100 per head.



CUT 5 Palmer Amaranth Tour Near Kankakee July 30th


The University of Illinois weed science program would like to extend an open invitation to join all those interested in an on site discussion of palmer amaranth.  Todd Gleason has more…


July 30th farmers and others can come to the U of I’s…



July 30th farmers and others can come to the U of I’s Palmer amaranth research site. It is located about ½ mile east of the intersection of county roads 14000 west and 3000 north near Union Hill, Illinois. That’s east of Dwight and west of Kankankee …about half way between the two. 


The tour will provide an excellent opportunity for farmers, input suppliers, and members of the media to have a first-hand encounter with a Palmer amaranth population thriving just a few miles south of Illinois’ largest city, Chicago. The tour will feature four presentations by weed scientists that highlight the identification, biology, and management of Palmer amaranth. Participants will receive a complimentary tour booklet that contains field research protocols and maps that will help guide them through the research plots.  The tour will begin at 9:00 a.m. and conclude with a catered lunch around noon.  Advanced registration is needed and can be accomplished by visiting website.


Again, that web address is all one word, as in Bayer the company b-a-y-e-r. Everyone is welcome and there is no fee to attend the tour. 


As you may have guessed by now the University of Illinois Palmer amaranth field research activities and tour are in collaboration with scientists and researchers from Bayer CropScience.