September 15, 2014

Setting Silage Chop for Best Digestion

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.


July 30, 2014

20 Percent of Farms Produce 80 Percent of the Value

The 2012 Census of Agriculture hold many unique facts. Researchers at the University of Illinois have been digging through the numbers to find some plumbs. Todd Gleason reports it seems an old adage is borne out by the figures.

There were about 75 thousand farms in Illinois when the 2012 Census of Agriculture was taken by the United Stated Department of Agriculture. The census, by two different measures – acreage operated & value of production – suggests the majority of Illinois farms are small by either categorization. However, there are two interesting facts that flow with these categorizations. The smaller the farm the more likely it is to produce livestock of less total value, and the larger the farm the more likely it is to produce crops – mostly grains and oilseeds - of much greater value.

The Census of Agriculture defines a farm as any place from which $1,000 or more of agricultural products were produced and sold, or normally would


July 15, 2014

Fish Farm Challenge

The National 4-H Foundation and Monsanto have put together an educational series for kids at summer camp. Learn how the Fish Farm Challenge is helping boys and girls understand world hunger, world population, science, and engineering.


July 07, 2014

Risky Business Study Works to Offset Financial Risk of Climate Change

A group of business people and political leaders have released a project called Risky Business. University of Illinois Extension's Todd Gleason has more on the study and how it might be used in the Midwest to assess and mitigate the financial risk associated with climate change with Cargill's Chairman of the Board Greg Page.

Click on the arrow below to listen to the interview. You may visit www.riskybusiness.org for more complete details of the study.


June 01, 2014

J.H. Hawes Grain Elevator & Museum Open Sundays 1-3pm

Some Sunday this summer you should make the drive to Atlanta, Illinois and tour the old grain elevator. It stopped taking in corn long ago and sat unused for years. Then the townsfolk decided, in the mid 1990’s, to refurbish the J. H. Hawes Grain elevator. Today it is a museum on the registry of historical places in the United States. You can learn more on the museum website.
 

The J. H. Hawes Grain Elevator and Musuem is open to visitors from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. every Sunday afternoon in June, July, and August. Here a few facts and figures about the machinery in the elevator.
 

  • the old gas engine that operates the elevator runs at 400 r-p-m and puts out 10 horsepower
  • the pulley system inside the building is driven by a single rope 280 feet long
  • the total capacity of the elevator is twenty-nine thousand bushels

May 28, 2014

Skype Capable of Realtime Conversation Translation

Skype, now owned by Microsoft, may soon be able to translate speech in real time. The company demoed this new kind of magic on stage. It would allow people to converse in their native (but different) languages. Skype is one of Todd's favorite broadcast tools. He uses it every day and cannot wait to see how it might handle a conversation translation about on farm conditions in China, Ukraine, Argentina, and Brazil.

Skype "Magic"


May 25, 2014

Flying Old Glory

Memorial Day we honor and remember those that gave their lives for freedom. Please remember to fly the U.S. flag at half staff until noon. Thee United States Flag Code lays out in detail when and how the flag is to be displayed along with other information. What follows is a short excerpt from the code.


The Flag Code — History and Text

On June 22, 1942, President Franklin D. Roosevelt approved House Joint Resolution 303 codifying the existing customs and rules governing the display and use of the flag of the United States by civilians. Amendents were approved on December 22nd of that year. The law included provisions of the code adopted by the National Flag Conference, held in Washington, D.C. on June 14, 1923, with certain amendments and additions. The Code was reenacted, with minor amendments, as part of the Bicentennial celebration. In the 105th Congress, the Flag Code was removed from title 36 of the United States Code and recodified as part of title 4.


Title 4 United States Code (excerpt)

6. Time and Occasions for Display.

  (a) It is the universal custom to display the flag only from sunrise to sunset on buildings and on stationary flagstaffs in the open. However, when a patriotic effect is desired, the flag may be displayed 24 hours a day if properly illuminated during the hours of darkness.

  (b) The flag should be hoisted briskly and lowered ceremoniously.

  (c) The flag should not be displayed on days when the weather is inclement, except when an all-weather flag is displayed.

  (d) The flag should be displayed on all days, especially on...

  • New Year’s Day,  January 1 
  • Inauguration Day, January 20 
  • Martin Luther King Jr.’s birthday, the third Monday in January 
  • Lincoln’ s Birthday, February 12
  • Washington’ s Birthday, third Monday in February
  • Easter Sunday (variable)
  • Mother’s Day, second Sunday in May
  • Armed Forces Day, third Saturday in May
  • Memorial Day (half-staff until noon), the last Monday in May
  • Flag Day, June 14; Independence Day, July 4
  • Labor Day, first Monday in September
  • Constitution Day, September 17
  • Columbus Day, second Monday in October
  • Navy Day, October 27
  • Veterans Day, November 11
  • Thanksgiving Day, fourth Thursday in November
  • Christmas Day, December 25
  • and such other days as may be proclaimed by the President of the United States
  • the birthdays of States (date of admission)
  • and on State holidays

  (e) The flag should be displayed daily on or near the main administration building of every public institution.

  (f) The flag should be displayed in or near every polling place on election days.

  (g) The flag should be displayed during school days in or near every schoolhouse.


April 30, 2014

Palmer Amaranth Untreatable 10 Days after Emergence

University of Illinois Weed Scientist Aaron Hager is urging farmers to diligently control a new weed species in the state. Palmer amaranth plants reached a 4-inch height less than 10 days after emergence. Palmer is very hard to control after it is taller than four inches. You can read more from Aaron Hager on the weed in The Bulletin.

photo comparing the growth rate of waterhemp vs palmer amaranth
This greenhouse demonstration compares the growth rate of  palmer amaranth compared to waterhemp at 4 days post emergence and 16 days. Palmer becomes nearly untreatable after reaching a height of 4 inches, usually less than 10 days after emergence.

April 22, 2014

CME Group to Automatically Reset Trading Limits May 1 & Nov 1

The CME Group Inc said today it will implement a new system for setting daily price limits for U.S. grain and oilseed futures starting next month. It will regularly change the limits to markets including corn, soybeans and wheat. These will reset twice a year with the change based on underlying price levels. CME will also remove price limits for all grain and oilseed options.

Both changes are set to take effect the first trading day of May which begins the evening of Wednesday April 30th. The semi annual adjustment of the limits will widen the trading range during periods of higher prices and narrow the limits when market prices are lower.

The reset dates will be the first trading day in May and the first day in November.

On May 1, the initial daily limit for corn will drop to 35 cents a bushel from 40 cents, rise to $1.00 from 70 cents for soybeans, and drop to 45 cents a bushel from 60 cents for CBOT soft red winter wheat.

 

April 08, 2014

...for your road trip list.

I love out of the way places to travel and explore. A blacktop (a rural road) is one of my favorite things in all the world. They look the same just about everywhere I've ever been, but always hold a surprise or two. If you play your cards right you'll find something of interest and a great place to eat. Coming straight south from East Peoria, Illinois is a great road.

This one is wider than usual, and even has a name on the map, Springfield Road. There are many treats to see. If you are a "Lord of the Rings" fan you'll love the hobbit hole along the west side of the road. It sits there with a perfectly round door, just like those in the shire.

Once you drop down the mountain of a hill - for central Illinois - pass all the white fences, and mount the other side of the little valley, keep your eyes open for a pair of pines on the east side of the road (see the red pin on the map along Springfield Road). Hunkered down in those pines is a rock and plaque.

I think only those that have knelt upon the earth, filled their lungs with its sweet fragrance, and reached into it searching for a kernel of corn, can truly appreciate the rock and the acreage.

It is the birthplace of yellow dent corn. This is the place where a poor stand prompted Robert Reid to intra-seed a second open pollinated variety hoping for a good nick. It worked, and over the next forty years Reid and his son James diligently developed the new yellow dent corn variety. Eventually, it became the primary parent line behind nearly all modern corn hybrids.

If you farm, this is a sacred place to visit. 

Given that, I doubt it is a sacred place for the rest of the people in the vehicle. They'll need another reason. I would suggest the Harvest Cafe in Delavan. Bring your wallet, but do plan to have a magnificent meal in one of the most luxurious little spaces in rural route Illinois.

Click on any of the photos to show a lager version.


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