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


September 12, 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          2nd Ears & the Size of the Corn Crop


2          The Export Market for U.S. Corn & Soybeans


3          Choosing a Scab Resistant Wheat Hybrid


4          Setting Silage Chop for Best Digestion


5          USDA Updates Cash Rents by County


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   2nd Ears & the Size of the Corn Crop

Darrel Good, Ag Economist – University of Illinois


It appears one of the reasons the United States Department of Agriculture increased the size of this year’s corn crop is because there are more ears per plant than usual. If true, it is a unique fact. Todd Gleason has more.


Last week USDA projected corn farmers…



Last week USDA projected corn farmers would harvest a record setting crop – about four-point-four billion bushels strong. It arrived at this number in a new and novel way. This is not to say that USDA changed the way it makes counts. It did no. However, some of the ears the agency didn’t think would make corn last month apparently filled out. University of Illinois ag economist Darrel Good thinks these are probably the second ears on the corn plant.


Good :48  It looked like, based on there graph, they didn’t pubish…

…will produce a significant amount of grain this year.


This significant amount of grain has caused USDA to lower it season’s average cash price received by farmers by forty cents a bushel. The mid point of the range is now $3.50. Good says farmers must now recognize the burdensome size of their crop. It is big, and that has marketing implications.


Good :41  First you have to recognize that there is some potential…

…over the next six months.


The question at hand then is, “will the rebound in price be enough to cover the cost of storing the corn crop?”. It depends to some extent says Good on where the crop is stored. He says the current carry in the market does not cover the cost of commercial storage, but that storing the crop on farm might work nicely.




CUT 2             The Export Market for U.S. Corn & Soybeans

Darrel Good, Ag Economist – University of Illinois


American corn farmers will be buried in their own crop this fall, but that doesn’t mean the rest of the world will be over-supplied. Todd Gleason has more on the coarse grain stocks figures for the planet and prospects for U.S. corn and soybean exports.


Selling corn is a local event for the farmer…



Selling corn is a local event for the farmer. It is really likely the big crop will cause the price to remain low. However, this doesn’t always translate into the world picture. The last set of USDA numbers show the global coarse grain supply – corn, sorghum and the like – a bit less heavy than the supply in the United States. Here’s University of Illinois Ag Economist Darrel Good’s take on the potential for U.S. corn exports.


Good :42  The forecast of the Chinese corn crop was…

…in the export market.


This may be a point of optimism in an otherwise gloomy price picture for corn because for the first time in years U.S. corn will be competitive on the world stage. U.S. soybeans, on the other-hand, may not be so competitive at the current price levels thinks Darrel Good.


Good :37  Soybeans, globally, if the South American forecast is close…

…on the price of soybeans.


 You may read what Darrel Good has to say about the commodity markets each Monday at noon on the Farm Doc Daily website. The address is




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 head scab this past harvest. It is costly and toxic disease. Todd Gleason has more on what a farmer might do 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 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, Fred Kolb, screens soft red winter wheat hybrids every year for scab resistance says Bradley.


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 to avoid a head scab problem next spring is to choose and sow a scab resistant wheat variety.




CUT 4 Setting Silage Chop for Best Digestion

Phil Cardoso, Animal Scientist – University of Illinois


Corn silage can make up to as much as thirty to forty percent of a dairy cow’s diet. So, it is really important to get it right. That starts in the field. Todd Gleason has more on some University of Illinois work on harvesting silage.


Farmers should harvest corn silage when…



Farmers should harvest corn silage when it contains about thirty to thirty-four percent dry matter. This means the plant and grain are made up of about seventy-percent water. There is a quick and easy method to determine this. Just break apart an ear of corn and look for the milk line (RADIO ONLY: says University of Illinois Animal Scientist Phil Cardoso).


Cardoso :11  So you go out in the field and get a cob…

…ok, it is ready. I should go.


This is a quick and easy way to decide when to chop silage, and can allow a farmer to decide which parts of field to chop and or to leave for later. There is a more accurate way to do this with microwave and scale. Either way, the chop should be done at about 70 percent. It is also really important to set the chopper correctly, particularly the rollers.


Cardoso :46 So those rollers, the distance between the two…

…and that is what nourishes the cow.


Making sure the grain is damaged, or processed, is a vital step in making good silage. We’ll call setting the rollers to .1 inches or about 3 millimeters step one.


Cardoso :82  Secondly, what we need to do is…

…and you are going to be able to compact that.


However, this three-quarter inch length means the plant must be harvested at the right moment and we’ve returned to the seventy-percent moisture. It’s not easy to get it all right. Chop at about 70 percent using very sharp knives to get the cut to three-quarters of an inch and set the rollers to about point-one inches so 90 percent of the kernels are damaged.




CUT 5 USDA Updates Cash Rents by County

Gary Schnitkey, Farm Business Farm Management Specialist – University of Illinois


The United States Department of Agriculture has updated the annual report on farm land cash rents. Todd Gleason has more on the Illinois numbers.


USDA releases the cash rents report each August…



USDA releases the cash rents report each August. Gary Schnitkey evaluates the number for the University of Illinois. He says the figures for this year, and these reflect cash rents paid for this year – 2014 – don’t show anything really new.


Schnitkey :31  We see the same trends across the state that we…

…in the $80 to $90 range.


In general, says Gary Schnitkey, the higher the productivity of the land, the higher the cash rent. Interestingly cash rents in Illinois this year are about four to five percent higher than they were last year. This seems counter intuitive to the expectation, because most would have thought the negotiations taking place last fall would be for lower rents. Schnitkey has an explanation.


Schnitkey :22 If you look at the Illinois Society of Professional Farm…

…but the low end kept coming up.


The highs were not as high, and the lows were not as low. It appears the lower end rents moved more than the high-end rents. Consequently there was a higher average. It is something Schnitkey expects to see again next year.


Schnitkey :38  Moving into 2015 I would not expect to see…

…some of the average rents as well.


But maybe not all of them across the state.