Extension Ag Update
November/December 2003
Articles Research Resources Internet Links Ag Facts Education

Internet Links

University of Illinois Weed Science Site

The new website pulls together material on research, extension, and teaching as well as resource and reference items. The latter, in turn, leads to a wide selection of links ranging from other university weed science web pages to industry sources and professional societies.

Report 2003-07: Understanding USDA Corn and Soybean Production Forecasts: An Overview of Methods, Performance and Market Impacts (updated January 2004)

The purpose of this report is to improve understanding of USDA crop forecasting methods, performance and market impact. A review of USDA's forecasting procedures and methodology confirmed the objectivity and consistency of the forecasting process over time. No changes in methodology occurred in 2003. Month-to-month changes in corn and soybean production forecasts from 1970 through 2003 indicated little difference in magnitude and direction of monthly changes over time. USDA production forecast errors were largest in August and smaller in subsequent forecasts. There appeared to be no trend in the size or direction of forecast errors over time.

On average, USDA corn production forecasts were more accurate than private market forecasts over 1970-2003, with the exception of August forecasts since the mid-1980s. Private market forecasts in soybeans were more accurate than USDA forecasts for August, regardless of the time period considered. As the growing season progresses the USDA's relative accuracy in soybeans improved. USDA corn production forecasts had the largest impact on corn futures prices in August and recent price reactions have been somewhat larger than historical reactions. For soybeans, the largest reactions in futures prices occurred in August and September, but recent reactions have been large in October. Overall, the analysis suggests the USDA performs reasonably well in generating crop production forecasts for corn and soybeans.

New Resource for Pork Producers on Influenza
Dr. Christopher W. Olsen, University of Wisconsin-Madison

The Pork Checkoff has developed a new fact sheet on influenza, titled INFLUENZA: People, Pigs and Public Health. This fact sheet addresses a variety of aspects of the influenza virus, including its zoonotic characteristics and safety on the farm for pork producers and employees. Because pigs are susceptible to both mammalian and avian influenza viruses, they can serve as an intermediary from birds to people. This fact sheet can be found by going to the website and once there following these steps: Producer/Public Health to Publications to Fact Sheets to Influenza: People, Pigs and Public Health.

Soybean Rust

This new 2-sided fact sheet by the National Pest Alert (U.S.) includes color photos and a discussion on the distribution and transmission, host range, symptoms and development, management recommendations, and collection procedures of soybean aphids.

The 2004 IFARM Premium Calculator

The 2004 IFARM Premium Calculator provides premiums for six products across a range of coverage levels for 12 Midwestern states. Prices and volatilities for revenue products will not be known for certain until the beginning of March. These factors will be updated periodically as more information becomes available.

The 2004 IFARM Crop Insurance Evaluator

The Evaluator aids farmers in making sound crop insurance decisions by showing the risk reductions and costs associated with different multi-peril crop insurance products. Users of the Evaluator choose a crop and county. The Evaluator then presents tables and graphs showing the farmer-paid premiums, average payments, net costs, values-at-risk, and frequency of payouts of different insurance payments for an example farm in the chosen county. Tables are available for Illinois, Indiana, and Iowa.

Compendium of Herbicide Adjuvants

Developed by Bryan Young, SIU-Carbondale, this compendium has recently revised complete information on adjuvant products available on the market.

The Herbicide Resistance Website

The most recent list of herbicide resistant weeds worldwide included: 284 resistant biotypes, 171 species (102 dicots and 69 monocots), in more than 270,000 fields worldwide. This site monitors the identification of herbicide resistant weeds and their potential impact on agricultural production. The site is searchable by weed scientific or common name, or herbicide mode of action. For further information contact: I. Heap, International Survey of Herbicide Resistant Weeds, PO Box 1365, Corvallis, OR 97339, USA, 541-929-6636, IanHeap@weedsmart.com.

Conducting a Successful Timber Sale (GWQ036)

This publication outlines seven steps to successfully sell timber.

Wheat: Insect Pests and Diseases

Originally published as a field handbook by the International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center it is now available on the web: The original was designed "as a quick guide for identifying wheat and triticale diseases in the field," plus insect pests, nematodes, and physiologic and genetic disorders.

U.S. Regulatory Agencies Unified Biotechnology Website

This website provides information about the U.S. oversight system for products of modern biotechnology. It includes information on the roles of the regulatory agencies and links to relevant statutes and regulations. There is a searchable database containing information on all genetically engineered crop plants intended for food or feed that have completed the recommended or required reviews for food, feed, or planting use in the United States. Construction of the website and database has been a joint effort undertaken by the Department of State (DOS), the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS). For more information contact Eddie G. Gouge, Federal Relations - Food and Agricultural Sciences/CARET, (202) 478-602, egouge@nasulgc.org

Proceedings: 6th International Bioherbicide Group (IBG) Workshop

A global alliance of research scientists and others who actively investigate, develop, and foster the application of biological herbicides. Abstracts of papers presented at the IBG workshop held in April 2003 in Canberra, AUSTRALIA are posted. For more information contact M. Vurro, editor, Maurizio.Vurro@ispa.cnr.it

Best Environmental Management Practices: Farm Animal Production, Michigan State University

  • Inspecting Your Confined Feeding Operation (E2823)
  • Emergency Planning for the Farm: Livestock Operations (E2575S)
  • Comprehensive Nutrient Management Plans (E2819)
  • Manure Nutrient Recycling (E2826)
  • Odor Control Options for Confined Feeding Operations (E2828)
  • Building Good Neighbor Relations (E2818)
  • Manure Applicator Calibration (E2825)
  • Land Application of Manure and Environmentally Sensitive Field Characteristics (E2821)
  • Feeding Strategies to Lower N and P in Manure (E2822)
  • Disposal of Farm Medical Wastes (E2829)
  • Land Application Records and Sampling (E2824)
  • Mortality Management (E2827)

Greener Pastures: Is Grazing Right for Your Operation? (GWQ033)

Is grazing right for you: This booklet outlines questions to answer.

Rain Gardens: A Household Way to Improve Water Quality (GWQ034)

A guide to utilizing the rainwater from your roof.

Ag Exporter

This monthly magazine for businesses selling farm products overseas provides tips on exporting, descriptions of markets with the greatest sales potential, and information on export assistance available from the U.S. Department of Agriculture. The audience is U.S. agricultural producers, exporters, trade organizations, state departments of agriculture and any other export-oriented organization.

Wind Powering America

This site contains lots of useful information including state wind maps, small wind consumer's guides, wind workshops and more. Visit the "Regional Activities" section to read news articles, press releases and fact sheets for the area of your interest.

Traceability in the U.S. Food Supply

U.S. ranchers, farmers, food manufacturers, and distributors have a number of reasons to keep records tracking food production and distribution. These records provide information on the flow of food and food products throughout the U.S. food supply system and aid in tracking food to its source. This Briefing Room examines the development of food tracking systems in the United States.

Trends in the U.S. Sheep Industry, 2004

This report reviews the economic trends in the U.S. sheep industry. It chronicles significant historical and economic developments in the industry from both market and policy perspectives and cites prospects for the industry's survival. Issues related to both sheep meat and wool production are covered.

The Demand for Food Away From Home: Full Service or Fast Food
This publication examines how population trends and rising incomes will affect spending on food away from home, and estimates the expected growth rates in spending for food at full-service and fast food restaurants.