Extension Ag Update
May/June 2006
Articles Research Resources Internet Links Ag Facts Education

Internet Links

The Bulletin: Pest Management and Crop Development

During the growing season the Bulletin is published as a weekly newsletter and contains crop scouting reports, prediction of pest problems and management recommendations. A key advantage of the web is immediacy.

Costs and Fuel Use for Alternative Tillage Systems

Recent increases in fuel and new equipment prices have again focused attention on alternative tillage systems. In this paper, costs are examined for two systems that have little tillage and two systems that rely on tillage. One of the “low” tillage systems is strip tillage, a system in which a strip is cleared when nitrogen is applied, thereby allowing the strip to warm-up faster in the spring and allowing earlier planting than a no-tillage system. One of the “tillage” systems relies on a v-ripper to perform primary tillage. The ripper performs deep tillage, thereby mixing organic matter in the hopes of increasing yields. Results indicate that the two “low” tillage systems have about $9.50 per acre less costs and between 1 and 2 gallons less fuel use than the two “tillage” systems.

“Frequently Asked Questions About the World Trade Organization”  

 The article addresses a broad range of issues from “What is the WTO and why is it important for the U.S. to follow the WTO trade rules?” to  “How does the WTO relate to Illinois?”   Learn how the future of corn and soybean programs be affected by the link between the Doha Round and the 2007 Farm Bill.

Pricing Performance of Market Advisory Services in Corn and Soybeans over 1995-2004

 The purpose of this research report is to evaluate the pricing performance of market advisory services for the 1995-2004 corn and soybean crops.  Five basic indicators of performance are applied to advisory program prices and revenues over 1995-2004.  Results show that advisory program prices fall in the top-third of the price range relatively infrequently.  There is limited evidence that advisory programs as a group outperform market benchmarks, particularly after considering risk.  The evidence is somewhat more positive with respect to farmer benchmarks, even after taking risk into account.  For example, the average advisory return relative to the farmer benchmarks is $8-12 per acre with only a marginal increase in risk.  Even though this return is small and mainly from corn, it nonetheless represents a non-trivial increase in net farm income per acre for grain farms in central Illinois.  Test results also suggest that it is difficult to predict the year-to-year pricing performance of advisory programs based on past pricing performance.  However, there is some evidence that performance is more predictable over longer time horizons, particularly at the extremes of performance rankings.

Fungicide Application Technology for Soybean Rust-200

The keys to successfully using fungicides to control soybean rust are applying the fungicide at the right time, achieving good canopy penetration and good leaf coverage. The fact sheet gives guidelines for selecting the correct spray volume, droplet size, ground speed, nozzle pressure, boom height and nozzle type to achieve good penetration and coverage of the soybean canopy.

The First Decade of Genetically Engineered Crops in the United States

The USDA Economic Research Service report focuses on GE crops and their adoption in the U.S. over the past 10 years. Three major stakeholders of agricultural biotechnology are examined and find that (1) the pace of R&D activity by producers of GE seed (the seed firms and technology providers) has been rapid, (2) farmers have adopted some GE varieties widely and at a rapid rate and benefited from such adoption, and (3) the level of consumer concerns about foods that contain GE ingredients varies by country, with European consumers being most concerned.

Soybean Backgrounder

This report addresses key domestic and international market and policy developments that have affected the U.S. soybean sector in recent years. It provides an analysis of the competition between crops for domestic farmland and the international supply and demand for soybean products.  Also covered are domestic and trade policy, farm program costs, and a profile of operating and financial characteristics of U.S. farms producing soybeans.

Prevention: A Young Person's Guide to Keeping Animals Safe and Healthy

This on-line booklet teaches youth how to protect animals from disease by keeping their environment hygienic and sanitary.  This four-chapter booklet covers controlling external biosecurity sources, such as the movement of animals, people and equipment, as well as the construction of buildings, and how to keep animals separated by species and age; keeping animals clear of pathogens through sanitation and hygiene; identifying threats to the animal, from external and internal parasites to predators to bacteria and viruses to toxins; and safeguarding animal health. It was written by Ohio State University Extension-Veterinary Preventive Medicine and the University of Maryland.

Pesticide Safety Information in Mexican Indigenous Languages

Many agricultural workers in the U.S. and Mexico are of Mexican and Central American ancestry.  Many workers are from rural indigenous communities that speak dialects and languages rather than Spanish.  Patricia Díaz Romo, coordinator of the project Huicholes y Plaguicidas, has worked to translate free downloadable pesticide education materials in Spanish and twelve major indigenous languages.