September 19, 2017

Growmark Introduces Simulator to Train Drivers

We often hear about pilots using simulators to train before they actually fly. As of this year Growmark FS is using a simulator to train its sprayer operators.

This month the company invited reporters to its training center in Bloomington, Illinois and after a brief introduction invited them to take a spin in their brand new RoGator. Not a real one, but a simulator that seems pretty darned real even, says Growmark Equipment Manager Erik Wilcox, to those that drive the sprayer for a living.

Wilcox - I’ve had a lot of doubting Thomases come in and say, “this is just a video game and not anything worthwhile” and with each and every one of them I challenge them to just get on and give me the feedback. Every one of them, and I mean every one of them and that’s been about a dozen that have gotten on with me as an expert, have come off and said, “yeah, we are headed in the right direction.”

The simulator currently features road and field courses. It was created as a training module for FS System operators from Ontario to Cairo to practice, study, and enhance their ability, knowledge, and safety skills. That and to cut down on accidents.

Wilcox - We’d like to see the instance of insurance claims say running over crops, we’ll use that as an example, decrease over time as we use this. That is as we get into more row crop simulations. We’d also like to see a decrease in on the road accidents.

The most common of which by the way is for a car to run into the back of the sprayer when it goes to make a left hand turn.


September 18, 2017

Corn and Soybean Production Outlook in 2017-18

Given the price reaction, the market remains uncertain about the USDA’s September forecast of 2017 corn and soybean production. Todd Gleason has more with the commodity markets specialist from the University of Illinois.


September 14, 2017

USDA NASS Soybean Objective Yield Pod Weight

Tuesday’s USDA Crop Production report included a very heavy soybean pod weight. Todd Gleason talks with USDA NASS Chief of the Crops Branch about the weight, how it is calculated, and how it might change over time.








September 10, 2017

Dicamba | U of Arkansas Takes a Stand



Statement from Dr. Mark Cochran, Vice President-Agriculture for the University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture, on Monsanto’s petition to the Arkansas State Plant Board

First, and most importantly, we stand by the integrity of our scientists and their science, including Dr. Jason Norsworthy, our internationally recognized researcher and his work, and all our weed scientists, as well as other public weed scientists on record in other states.

We are confident in the science that we’ve used to advise the regulatory process in Arkansas.
Even Monsanto recognizes his reputation. Just 48 hours before the petition was filed, the company invited Dr. Norsworthy to present a summary of national drift and volatility research at an academic summit on dicamba that the company is hosting in St. Louis this month. He has declined this invitation.

We will examine every point in this petition and its appearing and disappearing group of supporting exhibits, and over time will respond factually to its major points.

There are several points in the petition we need to address immediately: First, Norsworthy’s findings are anything but an outlier. It is consistent with research work in other states, including that of Kevin Bradley in Missouri, Tom Mueller and Larry Steckel in Tennessee, and elsewhere.

Second, none of our researchers has ever endorsed any product, but sometimes companies use our public comments and statements without our permission.

Based on Monsanto’s allegations, we intend, under the terms of our agreements with Monsanto, to publish all data relevant to our dicamba work over the last few years.

  • This petition isn’t just about a single herbicide, but it’s an attack on a whole profession – scientists whose careful work is meant to be of benefit to all.


We have made our explanations available to the public, including at field days and through videos of the presentations that were and are still public on the Cooperative Extension Service site, www.uaex.edu. Our public land grant research results are scientifically vetted and valid, and we are pledged to being transparent in our results.

Link to Dicamba in Arkansas - Research and FAQs


August 22, 2017

Owned & Share Cropped Land Making up Cash Rent Losses

The high price of cash rent for corn ground in Illinois has been a loser over the last three seasons. It looks like that may continue for two more years. Todd Gleason has more on how owned ground, and share cropped acres have been making up the difference.




August 16, 2017

CME Group Provides Scholarships for Agriculture

Agricultural companies are always on the hunt for good employees, but those with college educations can be hard to find. Todd Gleason reports from the Illinois State Fair that the world’s largest options and futures exchange is hoping to inspire a few more kids to further their education.


August 12, 2017

Google Makes $1.5 Million Gift to 4-H

Google, through its philanthropic arm, has made a $1.5 million gift to 4-H across the nation. The company is providing both funding support and virtual reality equipment to 4-H youth computer science programs. It made the announcement at the Illinois State Fair Friday, August 11, 2017.


August 08, 2017

Sonny Perdue #BackToOurRoots Opening Remarks

August 7, 2017 - The following are the opening comments U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue made to members of the Illinois Farm Bureau attending the #BackToOurRoots RV Tour meeting held on the Beaty Farm outside of Rochester in Sangamon County, Illinois.


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