Extension Ag Update
September/October 2001
Articles Research Resources Internet Links Ag Facts Education


Limestone Book

Illinois farmers planning to apply limestone to their fields can consult a free publication from the Illinois Department of Agriculture to make sure that they are applying at the appropriate rate. The Illinois Voluntary Limestone Program Producer Information Book lists the Calcium Carbonate Equivalent and a correction factor for limestone from each supplier that takes part in the program.

"The information in the Limestone Book is very important for producers who want to make the most effective application possible on their fields," said Mark Ringler, Bureau Chief of Agricultural Products Inspection for the Illinois Department of Agriculture. "Not all limestone is the same, so this information is designed to let the producer know how much limestone from a particular quarry needs to be applied to meet the needs of their fields." If a farmer is instructed to apply one ton of limestone per acre to neutralize acidity, but he purchases from a source with a listed correction factor of 1.5, the producer would need to apply one and a half tons per acre.

The Limestone Book is produced annually through the cooperation of the aggregate producers, the Illinois Department of Transportation and the Illinois Department of Agriculture. Limestone samples collected by the Department of Transportation are tested by the Department of Agriculture. The Limestone Book is available on-line at www.agr.state.il.us, or by calling 217-785-8349.

New Virus Test Kit Helps Keep Chicken on the Dinner Table

Don Comis, ARS News Service, USDA, (301) 504-1625, comis@ars.usda.gov

A new commercial blood test kit based on Agricultural Research Service technology detects chicks infected by an extremely virulent strain of avian leukosis virus, ALV-J. It is the first commercial product to result from an emergency ARS response to an ALV-J emergence in the United States that reached epidemic proportions in 1996. The epidemic produced shortages of breeding stock that threatened the poultry industry's ability to meet the burgeoning demand for chicken on the dinner table.

The new ALV-J kit, made by Synbiotics Corp. of San Diego, Calif., is one of two such kits in the world. The other kit was developed through a similar response by researchers abroad. To meet this worldwide threat, ARS works with scientists throughout the world as part of an ever-expanding consortium of private industries, universities and government agencies. The U.S. Primary Breeders Veterinary Roundtable has funded some of the ARS research as part of its long-term reliance on ARS for industry-sustaining research.

Biochemist Lucy Lee, at the ARS Avian Disease and Oncology Laboratory in East Lansing, Mich., (www.msu.edu/~arsadol) made this kit possible by finding a way to isolate and clone the gene that produces the protein coat that protects the live virus. Chicken cells react to the coating because that is the first thing they detect when the virus invades. The U.S. Department of Agriculture has patented Lee's techniques. ARS is the chief scientific research agency of USDA. Breeders can use the kits to reduce ALV-J infection. They can take blood samples from chicks to see if the chicks have antibodies indicating exposure to ALV-J. Lee and other researchers in the United States and abroad are using the gene for research in developing an ALV-J vaccine.

ALV cannot infect people or animals besides chickens and has largely been found in the birds raised by primary broiler breeders, the birds that are the parents of the birds we eat.



Stream*A*Syst is a self-assessment tool that enables a landowner to assess stream conditions and take restoration actions. This publication was developed and copyrighted by the Oregon State University Extension Service. It was funded through an NRCS EQIP grant to develop materials based on the Farm*A*Syst/Home*A*Syst model. Stream*A*Syst can easily be adapted to other states or more localized applications. HTML and PDF versions are available. For more information, contact Gail Glick Andrews, OSU Extension Water Quality Educator and Oregon Home*A*Syst/ Farm*A*Syst coordinator, at gail.glick.andrews@orst.edu

Agri-Environmental Policy at the Crossroads: Guideposts on a Changing Landscape


This publication (AER-794) by the USDA Economic Research Service provides policy makers with a guide to some of the choices they may face with respect to natural resource and environmental issues. To order call 800-999-6779.

The Clean Water Act TMDL Program: Law, Policy and Implementation.


This guide offers information to understand these new regulations. To order call 800-433-5120

Judicious Use of Antimicrobials in Food Animals Videos


The Food and Drug Administration's Center for Veterinary Medicine, in conjunction with AVMA, has produced educational materials on the judicious use of antimicrobials in food animals. These include two videos and booklets, "Keeping Up Our Guard" (designed for veterinarians) and "Safeguarding America's Health" (designed for livestock producers), and four booklets for veterinarians on judicious use of antimicrobials in swine, beef cattle, dairy cattle, and poultry. For more information contact: Beth Karp, DVM, MPH, DACVPM, Veterinary Medical Officer, Division of Epidemiology, Food and Drug Administration, Center for Veterinary Medicine, 301-827-1649 bkarp@cvm.fda.gov

Zero Tillage CD-ROM (E84)

This CD-ROM is filled with information on the "how-to’s" when transitioning from conventional to zero tillage. For price information and to order call 888-232-3262.

Farming with Neighbors (E60)

This humorous book gives practical information on the dynamics of conflicts and tips to "nip them in the bud." For price information and to order call 888-232-3262.

Assessing Market Potential for Value-Added Products (E83)

Using case studies to share how others have broken into the world of marketing value added crops; this book has many useful tips. For price information or to order call 888-232-3262.

Manure Characteristics, MWPS – 18

This publication provides up-to-date data about all types of manure handling characteristics. It also has valuable information on sampling and testing manure for nutrient content. (p.24)

Windbreaks Fact Sheet Series


  • How Windbreaks Work
  • Windbreak Establishment
  • Windbreaks for Rural Living
  • Windbreaks and Wildlife
  • Windbreaks in Sustainable Agricultural Systems
  • Windbreaks for Livestock Operations
  • Windbreak Management
  • Windbreaks for Snow Management
  • Windbreak Renovation
  • Field Windbreaks

Single copies are available free at Nebraska Extension offices, or by contacting Tim McGill, printing and distribution coordinator, 402-472-3023, tmcgill1@unl.edu. For multiple copies, contact Jim Brandle, jbrandle1@unl.edu.

Biodiversity of Illinois, Volume III: Prairie and Edge

The new Biodiversity of Illinois, Volume III: Prairie and Edge Habitats CD-ROM is the third and final installment in the Biodiversity of Illinois series of CD-ROMs from the Illinois Department of Natural Resources' Division of Education. Prairie and Edge Habitats is designed to provide supplemental information about Illinois prairie and edge species and habitats for the educator and student. It contains 505 Illinois prairie and edge species representing mammals, birds, reptiles, amphibians, fishes, arthropods, flatworms, roundworms, flukes, plants, fungi, protists and bacteria. Species are accessible in a field guide format.

Along with the photographic images, each individual species screen offers information about features, behavior, habitat, Illinois range, sounds (if available), classification and status (endangered/threatened; native/exotic). The sounds produced by 90 species are available for the listener. Descriptions and photographs of Illinois prairie and edge habitats are included on the CD-ROM. A section on biodiversity, what it is and why it is important, is available as are resources and references and an explanation of scientific names. Prairie burning is discussed and illustrated in the biodiversity section.

The CD-ROM is searchable. The CD-ROM runs on both Windows and Macintosh operating systems. Funding Biodiversity of Illinois, Volume III: Prairie and Edge Habitats was provided by the Illinois Department of Natural Resources, the Illinois Chapter of The Nature Conservancy and the Lake County Forest Preserves. Funding was administered by the Illinois Conservation Foundation. The Biodiversity of Illinois series of CD-ROMs was developed for grades five through nine.

For more information about the Biodiversity of Illinois series, contact the Illinois Department of Natural Resources, Division of Education, 524 South Second Street, Room 530, Springfield, IL 62701-1787 (217/524-4126; FAX 217/782-5177; teachkids@dnrmail.state.il.us