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it cost to farm?
4, 2001] There
has been a lot of press concerning farmers, farm program payments
and the like since last fall. Iím not even going to go there. What
interests me right now are the input costs and the income estimates.
Just out are the estimated costs of production for this coming
growing season, courtesy of Gary Schnitkey at the University of
corn and soybeans being our major crops, Iíll concentrate on
relaying information on those two. The short version of corn after
soybeans is that the cost to produce an acre is $419. This is based
on 160-bushel-per-acre yields. The variable costs are $183 per acre.
Iíll cover some more specifics about variable and fixed costs a
bit later. The short version of soybean production is an estimated
$345 to produce 55-bushel-per-acre soybeans. The variable soybean
cost is $117 per acre.
the longer version of the story on corn, here goes my attempt.
Variable costs were estimated at $183 per acre and included
fertilizer, lime, pesticides, seed, drying and storage, machinery
repairs, crop insurance, and interest on money borrowed for
operating money. Just to highlight a few items, nitrogen fertilizer
is estimated at $24 per acre, herbicides at $25 and seed at $38.
Fixed costs include labor, building costs, machinery costs, interest
on investment, farm insurance, utilities and land cost. These fixed
costs totaled $236 per acre for our 160-bushel yield level. Getting
it down to the cost per bushel, it costs a total of $2.63 per bushel
to produce 160-bushel corn with the cost estimates.
soybeans, it costs the $117 per acre for variable costs and $225 per
acre for fixed costs (with the same general categories as for corn).
Select cost estimates for soybeans are herbicides at $34, seed at
$19 and land costs at $145 per acre. The per-bushel cost to produce
soybeans is estimated at $6.28 per bushel.
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you want to see the entire estimated cost of production packet,
check it out on the web at http://www.farmdoc.uiuc.edu//manage/
enterprise_cost/2002_crop_budgets.html, or stop by the office
and pick up a set.
importance of these figures is that they point out what people in
production agriculture already know. It takes outside money to keep
things rolling. Figuring the loan rate of $1.95 per bushel for corn
and $5.41 per bushel for soybeans, costs of production are 68 cents
per bushel more than the corn is worth and 87 cents in the case of
soybeans. Sure, these cost of production figures had a small labor
charge built in, but $22 per acre for soybeans and $27.50 per acre
for corn only go so far. The other thing to keep in mind is that
production agriculture is about the only major commodity where the
producer does not set the selling price ó it is set by the buyers.
28, 2001] It
has been noted that this is one of the warmer winters on record.
When we think of the traditional January thaw, we think of the snow
melting, water running and mud everywhere. This year we havenít
really had much moisture or cold weather. We did have more frost in
the ground at one time because of lack of snow cover, but that has
thing of note is the plant development. Even last fall we had
flowers and shrubs blooming. It even seems like the maple trees have
had the buds swelled and ready to go since about Thanksgiving. We
canít really do anything about flowers and shrubs "getting
out of sync," but we can help prevent other problems from
extra growth by plants takes energy. This can be either vegetative
or reproductive growth (leaves or flowers). Each time something
grows it takes energy. The simplest way to help plants get over this
energy loss is to keep them in good growing condition. Proper
fertilizer and watering go a long way to accomplish this. In the
case of evergreens (including the broadleaf evergreens such as
holly, azaleas and rhododendrons) watering anytime during the winter
when soils arenít frozen is also a good idea.
plants would do well with about an inch of water per week. This
would be the ideal. Most of the time, there is a surplus of water in
the soil that can be used by plants when it doesnít rain. This
fall and winter there really hasnít been much. This can lead to
evergreens having brown needles or leaves. The plants basically lose
more water than they can take up. Strong winds compound these
problems. The simple solution is to run the hose or sprinkler when
you can. Mulches to help prevent evaporation will also help. Use of
an anti-transpirant or wind blocks will also keep needles or leaves
from losing so much moisture.
it comes to fertility, the rule of thumb is to apply about 15 pounds
of 10-10-10 per 1,000 square feet of garden area to flowers,
vegetables, trees, etc. Some literature says to limit applications
to 10 pounds in areas where there is grass to avoid burning the
grass. Donít apply fertilizer at this time. It might actually spur
growth. Fertilize during active growth periods such as May and
August. If you have a soil test, you may fertilize according to
these tips will help you preserve valued landscape plantings. Please
call the Extension office if you need further information.
[to top of second column in
first class of Master Gardeners has had its first graduates. Master
Gardeners undergo intensive training in various horticultural
topics, pass a detailed exam, then volunteer 60 hours of service
time to the community in horticultural education. Those completing
service and now certified as Master Gardeners are Bob Graue, Russel
Allen, Wilma Clark, Dorris Morris, Dr. David Kvitle, Mary Moore,
Lisa Wrage and Pat Cooper.
second Master Gardener training session will be this fall in
Lincoln. To receive information, please contact Don Miller at the
Extension office at email@example.com.
More information on the program is available on the website at http://www.extension.uiuc.edu/mg/.
on windbreak design
14, 2001] With
winter upon us, many of us think about the benefits of a windbreak.
There is nothing like a windy January day to start the planning
process. Here are some tips from Bob Frazee, natural resources
Extension educator, on planning windbreaks.
proper windbreak involves more than just planting a lot of trees
around the farmstead. Windbreaks provide maximum benefits by
sheltering buildings from winter winds, so the first thing to do is
determine the direction of prevailing winds.
prevailing winds for most of Illinois are from a northwesterly
direction; so for the best protection, windbreaks should be located
on the north and west sides of the farmstead.
shapes of farmsteads vary, but the most effective and easily
arranged windbreak is designed in the form of an L, with the point
to the northwest. The windbreak should be set no closer than 50 feet
from the buildings to prevent dead-air pockets around buildings in
the summer and to minimize snowdrifts in the winter. If you have
room, 100 feet is even better.
evergreen windbreaks consist of three rows, with trees in the middle
row planted to alternate between those of the outside rows. The rows
should be at least 16 feet apart, with the trees spaced 16 feet
apart within the row. If planted too close to each other, the trees
will crowd and shade each other as they mature, killing the lower
branches needed to slow surface wind.
many trees to buy is another consideration. One way to estimate the
number of trees required is to multiply the length of the windbreak
by 0.20. Most windbreaks need 100 to 150 trees. Buying a few extra
trees might be wise, to replace losses or to plant around a garden.
best protection, the windbreak should be continuous and
uninterrupted, but if access is needed to nearby fields, avoid
making gaps at the northwest corner or along the legs. This can be
done by overlapping the legs, providing a continuous row of trees,
yet allowing space for access to fields.
[to top of second column in
can attract songbirds and other wildlife to your windbreak and even
discourage pest species by taking a few special considerations in
the design stage. Windbreaks are valuable additions to wildlife
habitat in regions of intensive agriculture. Although many species
of wildlife will benefit from windbreaks, not all of them will be
conspicuous. Some species are nocturnal and some are secretive. A
good design and a well-laced bird feeder will bring many species
single most important variable influencing the use of a windbreak by
wildlife is its size. The windbreak will be used by more wildlife in
direct proportion to its length and width, that is, the number of
rows and their length.
diversity of shrub and evergreen species will attract more wildlife
than will monotypic rows of single species. Various species produce
fruit at different times of the year, providing modest amounts of
food over an extended period of time. Where windbreaks are composed
of just one or two species, the fruit comes on at one time and
cannot be fully utilized by resident wildlife, or it may attract
undesirable concentrations of migrating birds for brief periods in
the fall. A diversity of tree and shrub species will also reduce the
impact of insect or disease problems in the windbreak.
known to be good for attracting nesting birds include spruce, pine,
arrowwood, and hawthorn. Species with favored fruits include
American plum, Chokeberry, hawthorn, high-bush cranberry, arrowwood
29 ó Illinois Tillage Seminar, Spring Valley; reservations by Jan.
31 ó Horse Nutrition Workshop, Lincoln; reservations by Jan. 24
4 ó Entomology Roundtable, Lincoln; reservations by Jan. 27
12 ó Illinois Tillage Conference, Bloomington; reservations by
sale order form
30, 2002] Trees
for spring planting are available through the
Logan County Soil and Water Conservation District, 1650 Fifth Street
Road. Evergreens are sold in bundles of 25 and hardwood is sold in
bundles of five, but individual trees may also be purchased. The
trees are scheduled to be delivered in April. Click below for an
order form to print out, complete and return to the SWCD office with
your payment by March 15.
here for order form.]
Foundation fourth annual spaghetti dinner, raffle
18, 2002] The
4-H Foundation is planning its fourth annual spaghetti dinner. The
meal will be Feb. 10, from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., at the Knights of
Columbus Hall in Lincoln. The cost is donation only. In
addition, people can buy chances on several raffle items.