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Not out of the woods yet?

[JUNE 10, 2002]  Farmers know that you donít count your yield until it is in the bin. This year makes it especially tough to even think about yield prospects. Most of the corn that went in late has popped right out of the ground and has a good stand. Same goes for the soybeans. One potential problem now is some late-season insects showing up.

Normally we think of black cutworms as early-season insects. Cutworms are working in cornfields now, with some corn as tall as 12 inches being cut. Corn cut above the growing point will regrow and be fine, while corn cut below ground or below the growing point will be a loss for the plant cut. In addition to cutting corn, cutworms can spot feed and damage the growing point causing a loss.

Rescue treatments for cutworms should be applied when 3 percent of the plants are cut and there are larvae present. Several insecticides provide good control of cutworms when moisture is adequate, so that cutworms arenít just cutting below the soil surface. Also, you need to know what type of cutworm is causing damage. Variegated cutworms cut leaves and plant tops but donít completely cut plants off. Black, sandhill, and clayback cutworms usually cut entire plants.

We have also seen delayed damage from wireworms, grubs and grape colaspis. Many of these insects developed slower due to the very cool soil conditions this year during the spring months. By now, most of the grubs and colaspis have pupated ó meaning they will soon change to adult stages, if they havenít already.


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There are many weeks before the reproductive stages begin for corn, and then months before the combines roll. When crop reports are seen at this time, you have to take them with a grain of salt since a lot of things can happen. Just ask the Freeport area with 7 inches of water in a weekend. As for our prospects, they look OK at this point, but time will tell.

[Photo provided by John Fulton]

Plots and research in the county

Each year the Extension office coordinates many demonstration and research plots in the county. This year these would include: "Nitrogen and Manure Rate Study on Corn," "Amino Sugar Soil Analysis and Nitrogen Application on Corn," "Value-Added Traits Yield Plot ó Corn," "Perennial Weed Control Programs For Corn and Soybeans," and the "Commercial Corn Variety Yield Plot."

Information from many of these plots goes into the University of Illinois Research System and is distributed in many ways. The commercial variety corn plot will have local information as well as a fall field day. If you would like more information on any of these demonstration and research efforts, please feel free to e-mail fultonj@uiuc.edu

[John Fulton]

U of I launches new center for
studying soybean pathogens

[JUNE 10, 2002]  URBANA ó Although considerable research money has been spent to combat a wide range of soybean diseases, there has not been any systematic effort over the years to preserve and collect samples of the various pathogens that cause those diseases. As researchers retire or move on to other projects, there is a real danger of losing isolates of the pathogens that could be used to help control major soybean diseases ranging from cyst nematode to sudden death syndrome.

"Assembling an extensive and genetically diverse collection of soybean pathogens in one location would provide an invaluable resource for identifying new genes for resistance in soybeans and understanding the genetics of the pathogens that cause major soybean diseases," said Glen Hartman, USDA plant pathologist at the University of Illinois. "In recent years, it has become abundantly clear that such a collection is essential if we are to protect the long-term productivity of the soybean in the U.S."

To meet this need, Hartman and other collaborators across the country have recently begun assembling just such a collection at the U of Iís National Soybean Research Laboratory. The National Soybean Pathogen Center will focus on collecting, maintaining and studying a wide range of bacterial, fungal, nematode and viral pathogens.

Initial support for the project came from the United Soybean Board, the American Seed Trade Association and the USDA Agricultural Research Service. Recent funding includes a grant from the USDA-IFASF Program.


"The main function of the center is to provide soybean pathogens to researchers who are working on host resistance as a means of reducing yield losses caused by disease," Hartman said. "The center also will widely disseminate information about the accessions in the collection and present workshops so that researchers can work more efficiently with the pathogens."

The center is committed to maintaining the soybean pathogens in a viable and stable state, while maintaining all original properties. The collection will serve as a reference collection for researchers in both the public and private sectors.

"We will describe and document the variations in the soybean pathogens from our collection," Hartman said. "All that information will be made readily available to other interested researchers. We also will assist other scientists in identifying soybean pathogens and studying variations among the samples in the collection as they relate to understanding pathogen biology and the interactions with the hosts."



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Hartman notes that the collection will include living pathogens, representing the range of genetic diversity within bacteria, fungi, nematodes and viruses that are considered important for improving soybean germplasm. Other programs at the center will focus on training in germplasm screening and developing research strategies for better understanding pathogen diversity.

"An accession number will be allocated to each incoming strain," he said. "Those that are further purified or selected will be assigned a new accession number. A top priority will be to maintain the identity and viability of the strains in the collection. Some pathogens will be maintained as frozen stock, while others may be kept on living plant material."

Accessions in the collection will be distributed through an online catalogue without any charge. The collection will housed at the National Soybean Research Center at the U of I. Other cooperators on the project will maintain duplicate collections at several different locations.

He further points out that the location of the center at the NSRC provides ready access to the USDA Soybean Germplasm Collection at the U of I.


"This unique collection contains more than 16,000 soybean accessions and more than 1,000 accessions of the progenitor of the soybean," Hartman said. "The germplasm collection also has about 1,000 accessions of the wild perennial Glycine species. We expect to have strong collaboration between the curator of the germplasm collection and the scientists working with the pathogen collection, all of which should prove of great benefit for soybean producers as new resistant soybean varieties are developed and released."

[News release]

Maximum yield charts
show potential crop losses

Farmers face replant decisions

[MAY 28, 2002]  Logan County planting progress has grown by a "small leap" this past week with marginal field conditions allowing some farmers to forge ahead, while others were forced to keep machinery parked. Highly variable field conditions have allowed corn to reach about 90 percent completed and soybeans to reach approximately 30 percent planted.

One of the key concerns in late planting is the amount of potential yield loss that has occurred to date. The percentage of maximum yield chart shows that we have lost about 20 percent of yield to date from corn, and the yield losses will add to that rate at about 1 percent a day from here on out.

The other thing that enters into this is replant decisions. A total of 15,000 corn plants left from a May 4 planting will about equal the yield potential of a perfect stand of about 30,000 plants planted May 29. For soybeans, there has been some potential yield reduction due to late planting, but the numbers havenít been great thus far. August rains that fill seeds will have more impact on soybean yields than the lateness of planting so far.


Another important question is the potential loss of nitrogen from cornfields. Most estimates place losses in the ballpark of 40 to 80 pounds of nitrogen per acre from most applications to date. Applications of additional nitrogen should take into account your specific situation and revised corn yield goals. Application type and source of nitrogen need to be considered when considering applying additional material.


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Many Web-based sources are available to help you in determining management strategies related to delayed planting. One of the most comprehensive is the Purdue site, which has put many related sources in one spot. That web address is http://www.ces.purdue.edu/delayedplanting/.

Another source of good information is the University of Illinois site that has the crop management newsletter on it at http://www.ag.uiuc.edu/cespubs/pest/. This site hosts the current and back issues of the crop development and pest management newsletter, which would be very applicable to our area.

Remember the source as you look for information. Most university sites are very good sources, but their location may make some of the dates and information of questionable value.

Remember the potential for soil compaction as spot showers hit certain fields. Compaction is something we get to battle with all season.

[John Fulton]

Bomke denounces plan to hurt ag community

[MAY 28, 2002]  SPRINGFIELD ó Senate Democratic Leader Emil Jonesí most recent budget plan could affect even more jobs in central Illinois, according to Sen. Larry Bomke.

Jones, R-Chicago, offered the governor a plan Wednesday to increase sales taxes on agriculture and manufacturing. Among the sales tax increases Jones proposed are those affecting manufacturerís purchase credit, manufacturing and assembling machinery and equipment, farm chemicals, new and used farm machinery, ethanol fuels, and coal mining equipment.

"First they want to lay off state employees; now they want to hit our agriculture and manufacturing jobs as well," said Bomke, R-Springfield. "If the Democrats have their way, there wonít be any jobs left in my district."

Bomke indicated he will fight the Democratic plan and instead continue pushing for cuts in spending and better fiscal management to balance the budget.


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"We need to look at ways to cut the fat and better manage government before we ask for more money," said Bomke. "The last thing we want to do is place a huge burden where jobs hang in the balance."

Bomke has already proposed several budget alternatives to raise revenues, such as allowing state employees to opt out of the health insurance program if they have other coverage ($24 million) and increasing taxes on riverboats ($118 million), as well as rejecting raises for himself, other lawmakers, constitutional officers, judges and high-ranking state officials ($11-12 million). He is also sponsoring an early retirement plan that could save $356.5 million in payroll and salary each year.

[News release]

Cool temperatures slow
drying of saturated soils

[MAY 24, 2002]  "With 11.8 inches of rainfall ó 183 percent of average ó since April 1, this is the wettest April 1-May 19 period in Illinois since 1900, and the month is not over yet," says Jim Angel, state climatologist with the Illinois State Water Survey, a division of the Illinois Department of Natural Resources.

The new record beats the old record set in 1943 by a third of an inch. With 10.60 inches, 1957 was third. Although the year 1995 came in fourth with 10.59 inches, precipitation was near average for the rest of that growing season. The latest National Weather Service long-term outlooks call for an increased chance of above average precipitation this June and for the entire summer (June-August).

Weather observers throughout the state have reported more than 10 inches of precipitation since April 1, including 2 to 5 inches this past week (see map below).


Precipitation in inches, April 1-May 19
[Click on map to enlarge]


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Totals exceed 15 inches for these Illinois sites: Hardin, Morrisonville, Pana, Riverton, Beecher City, Charleston, Effingham, Lovington, Mattoon, Olney, Ramsey, Tuscola, Vandalia and Windsor.

Rainfall has been heaviest between Interstates 70 and 72 in Illinois. Beecher City, near Effingham, has accumulated 19.32 inches since April 1, including 11.35 inches on May 6-14, which exceeds the 10-day, 100-year storm for that region, says Angel.

Besides already averaging 6.60 inches of rainfall across Illinois in the first 19 days of May (2.48 inches more than the May average), temperatures 4 degrees cooler than average have further slowed the drying of saturated soils.

"While some folks are saying this is similar to what occurred in 1993, conditions this spring are different. Unusually heavy June-August rains centered over Iowa caused the 1993 flood. Heavy rains this spring are occurring much earlier and are centered over southern Illinois and Indiana," says Angel.

[Eva Kingston, editor, Illinois State Water Survey]

Honors & Awards

Ag Announcements

FFA to invade capital

[JUNE 7, 2002]  Thatís right, FFA members from across the state will be heading to Springfield for the annual Illinois FFA Convention June 11-13. The Prairie Capital Career Center will be filled with FFA members enjoying the festivities.

There will be five main sessions during the convention, with awards being given out and winners announced at each session. FFA members and chapters will be recognized for their outstanding achievements throughout the year. Also, the major state officers will give their retiring addresses, and new officers will be elected and installed for the 2002-2003 year.


For more information about the FFA and for convention updates, visit www.illinoisffa.org.

[Provided by Natalie Coers]

New beef organization formed

[APRIL 8, 2002]  Beef producers from the Logan, Mason and Tazewell County areas have recently formed the Heartland Beef Alliance. The object of this new group will be to share ideas on beef production, highlight educational benefits of beef to the consumer, tour beef production facilities, learn from guest speakers and enjoy socializing among area producers. Any beef producer, whether owner of one or many beef animals, is encouraged to join.

For more information contact the following officers:  Jason Miller, president, (309) 247-3231; Troy Gehrke, vice-president, (309) 244-7826; Betsy Pech, secretary, (217) 732-4384; or Rick McKown, treasurer, (217) 648-2712.

The next meeting will be June 3, 7:30 p.m., at the Greenhaven Animal Clinic in San Jose.  

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