Extension Ag Update
December 2008
Articles Research Resources Internet Links Ag Facts Education

Internet Links

Copies of 2008 University of Illinois Corn, Soybean, and Forage Variety Trials are available at local Extension offices or on the web.

Illinois Farm Economics Update: Impact of Current Financial Crisis on the Ag Economy

The recent turmoil in financial markets is very large by any reasonable standard of comparison. The farmdoc team prepared the following articles to illustrate the impact of the current financial crisis on the agricultural economy and decision-making. Focus is devoted to five main topics – the nature of the financial crisis, impacts on the short-term availability of credit, the connection between the financial meltdown and commodity prices, crop insurance decisions, and land rental and lease negotiations.

Articles include:
- The Current Financial Crisis: How Did We Get Here?
- Financial Markets in Agriculture
- Implications of Credit Market Problems for Crop Prices
- Increased Probabilities of Crop Insurance Payments
- 2009 Rental Decisions Given Volatile Commodity Prices and Higher Input Costs

The Insurance Policy: Protecting Your Business by Understanding Your Policy
If there is a pesticide spill on your farm – is the clean-up covered?  If the spill occurs on a road – is the clean-up covered?  This is the type of discussion this publication encourages you to have with your insurance agent to fully understand what your policies do and do not cover. 

Does pasture-finished beef make the grade? (Research Brief #77)
Finishing beef animals on pasture can potentially reduce the overhead costs of facilities and equipment compared to confinement finishing. Researchers at UW-Madison set out to learn if beef animals finished on pasture can make the Select and Choice quality grades for conventional meat markets.

Forage Fescues in the Northern USA
Tall fescue, meadow fescue and festulolium have potential value as forages for grazing operations in the northern USA. Meadow fescue is the most cold tolerant of these grasses, with excellent forage quality and palatability, and relatively high drought tolerance. Tall fescue has the highest yield potential, good palatability for soft-leaf varieties and excellent heat and drought tolerance. Festulolium exhibits high forage quality and good summer production. This publication focuses on the use and culture of meadow fescue, tall fescue and festulolium, with additional information on their history and introduction to North America

Tall Fescue On-line Monograph
This on-line monograph describes historical, current, and potential future uses of tall fescue, one of the most important forage, turf, and soil conservation species in the world

Minnesota Greenbook 2008: A Multitude of Ideas to Sustain Agriculture
The annual edition of the Minnesota Department of Agriculture's (MDA) Greenbook. Published for 19 years, the Greenbook highlights the results of innovative demonstration projects that test new approaches to marketing agricultural products as well as raising crops and livestock. The demonstration projects are funded by the MDA's Sustainable Agriculture On-Farm Demonstration Grant program, which targets farming practices that rely more on renewable resources, enhancing the environment, and increasing profitability. It highlights 22 projects in five major topic areas: alternative markets and specialty crops; energy; fruits and vegetables; cropping systems and soil fertility; and livestock.

Organic Agriculture
Research conducted by the Leopold Center for Sustainable Agriculture and other institutions is summarized on this new website. There are over 70 research projects covering topics from animal health and welfare issues to information about poultry, meat, grains and fruit and vegetables.

An Illustrated Guide to Sheep and Goat Production
Sheep and goats are can be valuable and enjoyable additions to many farms, providing meat, milk and fiber products, as well as brush control and pasture improvement services. This new, basic and graphic introduction to sheep and goat production discusses animal selection, feeding, breeding and young stock, equipment and handling, and marketing.