Extension Ag Update
September/October 2004
Articles Research Resources Internet Links Ag Facts Education

Internet Links

Farmdoc Update
Two new AgMAS Research Reports have been released: http://www.farmdoc.uiuc.edu/agmas/index.html

  • Report 2005-01: The Pricing Performance of Market Advisory Services in Corn and Soybeans over 1995-2003
  • Report 2005-02: The Pricing Performance of Market Advisory Services in Corn and Soybeans over 1995-2003: A Non-Technical Summary

Cash, Crop Share, Pasture and Livestock Share Lease Forms http://www.farmdoc.uiuc.edu/farmland/leaseforms/leaseforms.html
New lease forms are now available in Microsoft Word or Fill-in PDF.  Each form represents a basic model for an agricultural lease and can be modified to better meet the needs of the particular landowner or tenant.  

Understanding USDA Corn and Soybean Production Forecasts: Methods, Performance and Market Impacts over 1970 – 2004  http://www.farmdoc.uiuc.edu/agmas/index.html
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.  Month-to-month changes in corn and soybean production forecasts from 1970 through 2004 indicated little difference in magnitude and direction of monthly changes over time.  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 1970-2004, with the exception of August forecasts since the mid-1980s.  The forecasting comparisons for soybeans were somewhat sensitive to the measure of forecast accuracy considered.  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.  Similar to corn, USDA soybean production forecasts had the largest impact on soybean futures prices in August with recent price reactions appearing somewhat larger than in the past.  Overall, the analysis suggests that over the long run the USDA performs reasonably well in generating crop production forecasts for corn and soybeans. New Ilinois Drainage Guide www.wq.uiuc.edu/dg This interactive version of the new Illinois Drainage Guide makes it easier to search for answers to your questions about drainage issues.

Soybean Aphid Workshop Presentations
On February 5, 2004, five entomologists from four Midwestern states ( Illinois, Iowa, Minnesota, and Wisconsin) delivered an educational program via the Latitude Bridge to more than 60 locations in the four states. The PowerPoint presentations can be found at this website.

Don’t Confuse Potato Leafhopper Nymphs With Soybean Aphid!
Iowa State insect pictures, potato leafhopper and soybean aphid

Visual Guide To Counting Soybean Aphids

The Economics of Grass Based Dairying


ATTRA has a new publication evaluating the economics of dairies, land requirements for grazing dairies, supplemental feed, seasonal dairies, labor and profitability. The publication includes a list of resources if you are considering grazing your herd.  

Millennium Ecosystem Assessment
Millennium Ecosystem Assessment (MA) Synthesis Report, http://www.millenniumassessment.org/en/Products.Synthesis.aspx
This extensive World Ecosystem Assessment provides baseline data for evaluating the impact of humans on the environment. Nearly 1,400 experts from 95 countries developed it. This assessment includes a global inventory of the state of our ecosystems. It quantifies the effect that human activities are having on ecosystems and make suggestions for the future. Excellent graphics make this publication easy to understand.

Biological Control Of Invasive Plants in the United States
This 476-page publication covers both key terrestrial and aquatic plants. It gives general recommendations as well as specific information on 39 targeted plants in the U.S. Over 90 bioagents are also discussed. To order this book contact: Oregon State Univ. Press, 102 Adams Hall, OSU, Corvallis, OR 97331-6407.1-541-737-3170. On the web see: http://oregonstate.edu/dept/press/a-b/BioControl.html.   All royalties from sales of this book will be donated to the ( U.S.) Western Society of Weed Science.

New Directions In Global Food Markets

This report describes how consumer preferences are driving changes in global food supply chains, including growth in private label sales and expansion of multinational retailers and manufacturers in developing countries.

China ’s New Farm Subsidies
In 2004, China entered a new era in its approach to agricultural policy, as it began to subsidize rather than tax agriculture. China introduced direct subsidies to farmers, began to phase out its centuries-old agricultural tax, subsidized seed and machinery purchases, and increased spending on rural infrastructure. The new policies reflect China's new view of agriculture as a sector needing a helping hand. The subsidies are targeted at grain producers, but they do not provide strong incentives to increase grain production.

Structural and Financial Characteristics of U.S. Farms: 2004 Family Farm Report
This report presents comprehensive information on family and nonfamily farms and important trends in farming, operator household income, farm performance, and contracting. Most farms are family farms. Even the largest farms tend to be family farms. Small family farms account for most of the farms in the U.S. but produce a modest share of farm output. Average farm household income has been at or above the average for all U.S. households in recent years, with farm households receiving most of their income from off-farm sources.

Structural Change in the Meat, Poultry, Dairy, and Grain Processing Industries
Consolidation and structural changes in the food industry have had profound impacts on firms, employees, and communities in many parts of the United States. Over 1972-92, eight important food industries underwent a structural transformation in which the number of plants declined by about one-third and the number of employees needed to staff the remaining plants dropped by more than 100,000 (20 percent); the number of plants in one other industry also dropped, but that industry added jobs. Economists generally attribute structural changes such as these to rising or falling demand and shifts in technology.