Around the County Frequent information updates for agricultural audiences Sun, 15 May 2005 13:02:08 -0500 University of Illinois Extension poised to offer flood recovery and mitigation resources Tue, 14 May 2019 11:18:00 +0000

Floodwaters continue to rise across much of Illinois, with 34 counties currently under a disaster proclamation designated by Governor J.B. Pritzker. Significant rain and snowfall in April combined with saturated soils have led to widespread flooding, including areas that don't typically deal with flooding of this magnitude.

With the Illinois, Mississippi, and Ohio rivers at flood stage at multiple points along each river, and the Wabash, Fox, LaMoine, Kaskaskia, Des Plaines, and Big Muddy rivers under active monitoring, many Illinois residents, business owners, and communities are preparing to deal with the aftermath of historic floodwater levels. While many resources exist to support community and economic recovery, it's often challenging for those impacted to know where to begin.

"Information gathering is a critical skill set during and after a crisis," says Shelly Nickols-Richardson, associate dean and director of University of Illinois Extension. "We know that these skills can help or hinder how quickly individuals and families can recover from disasters, which has a direct impact on how quickly communities recover. We believe that one of the great strengths of the Illinois Extension system is our ability to gather, vet, sort, and share relevant resources during a crisis."

There are four stages of the disaster cycle: (1) preparedness, (2) response, (3) recovery, and (4) mitigation. Over the next several weeks, most Illinois residents impacted by the current flooding will enter the recovery phase, where they start to ask questions about returning to their homes, businesses, and community spaces. Whether the impacted area is rural or urban, it is important to understand that the danger doesn't completely diminish simply because the floodwaters have receded.

The cascading effects of natural disasters have far-reaching impacts. Beyond being forced out of their homes and communities, residents also contend with a myriad of other logistical challenges. From food access to SNAP-Ed benefits, and from water quality to sanitation issues for people and animals, impacted communities are ground zero for tough questions.

According to Carrie McKillip, community and economic development educator for Illinois Extension, in the aftermath of a crisis, agencies play a dual role of providing information and services to those directly impacted by the event, while also simultaneously gathering data to mitigate future disasters.

"In many of our more rural counties, it's not uncommon for Extension to be the only agency with an active, ongoing presence outside of a crisis response," McKillip says. "Our network can and should be leveraged to provide more efficient access and communication to those individuals and families who are directly impacted. Whether we're talking about disseminating Extension resources or those from other aid organizations, our network plays a crucial role."

Extension resources exist to support almost all phases of the disaster cycle, but McKillip says that Extension leadership is interested in delving more deeply into supporting recovery and mitigation efforts. Currently, Illinois is taking part in a multi-state pilot project to create voluntary associations of community groups who stand ready to assist when disaster is imminent. The goal of Community Organizations Active in Disaster, or COADs, is twofold: (1) to alleviate pressure on first responders, and (2) to mobilize agencies and groups that can help from off-site during a crisis.

According to McKillip, it's not uncommon for municipal leaders to be caught unprepared to manage a local response to a natural disaster because it's often not articulated as part of the responsibilities of their role. Through the work of COADs, elected officials and municipal leaders benefit from the stability of an entrenched, hyperlocal network of professionals who are trained to understand the depth and breadth of disaster mitigation and recovery.

Illinois Extension is also rolling out other innovative programs to help prepare families and communities for disaster response. In 2017, Illinois began training teenagers about how to respond in a crisis. Known asMy PI (Preparedness Initiative) Illinois, youth can become certified through a training program developed by FEMA, American Red Cross, and the U.S. Department of Education that explores critical topics like disaster preparedness, fire safety, disaster medical operations, light search and rescue, disaster psychology, and terrorism. The program is currently only available in select Illinois communities, but is expected to expand over the coming year.

For agencies and professionals who are working with residents and community leaders during the height of the crisis, Illinois Extension offers a few insights.

  • People and families displaced by the current flood should contact local emergency management personnel. These groups are best positioned to help during the disaster and in its immediate aftermath.
  • Make a plan for cleaning up homes and businesses once flooding recedes. Floodwaters will have dispersed a wide range of unsanitary and toxic materials and residents are strongly encouraged to consult a professional before beginning cleanup efforts in order to minimize any potential health or safety impacts.
  • Check with local donation centers to support daily living right now. While individual insurance policies are likely to provide good long-term recovery resources, immediate needs can often be met through local donation centers and aid agencies.
  • Illinois Extension is local in every county in Illinois, making Extension educators and community workers a great clearinghouse for information. For those who are struggling to understand how to begin the recovery process, contact the local Extension office in your county.
  • Begin planning for how this crisis will impact your family's personal finances. Consult the Recovery After Disaster: The Family Financial Toolkit for resources that will guide you through a systematic process for protecting your family's financial health.

Even though damages can't be assessed until the water has receded, it's clear that spring 2019 flooding across Illinois will make the record books. As important as it is to help families and communities navigate the recovery process, it is equally critical to capture and catalogue the lessons learned in order to develop measures to mitigate the impact of future disaster events.

"Illinois Extension is committed to developing and disseminating resources that help our communities prepare for and recover from disasters," says Nickols-Richardson. "Extension's strength lies in providing reliable, trustworthy information about best practices for recovery and mitigation."

University of Illinois Extension is in theCollege of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental SciencesU of I.

Source: Carrie McKillip, 309-342-5108,

News writer: Samantha Koon, 217-898-3509,

Excessive rainfall as damaging to corn yield as extreme heat, drought Wed, 01 May 2019 14:47:00 +0000

News Source: by Lois Yoksoulian |Physical Sciences Editor |217-244-2788

Recent flooding in the Midwest has brought attention to the complex agricultural problems associated with too much rain. Data from the past three decades suggest that excessive rainfall can affect crop yield as much as excessive heat and drought. In a new study, an interdisciplinary team from the University of Illinois linked crop insurance, climate, soil and corn yield data from 1981 through 2016.

The study found that during some years, excessive rainfall reduced U.S. corn yield by as much as 34% relative to the expected yield. Data suggest that drought and excessive heat caused a yield loss of up to 37% during some years. The findings are published in the journal Global Change Biology.

"We linked county-level U.S. Department of Agriculture insurance data for corn loss with historical weather data, letting us quantify the impact of excessive rainfall on yield loss at a continental scale," said Kaiyu Guan, a natural resources and environmental sciencesprofessor and the study's principal investigator. "This was done using crop insurance indemnity data paired with rigorous statistical analysis – not modeled simulations – which let the numbers speak for themselves."

The study found that the impact of excessive rainfall varies regionally.

"Heavy rainfall can decrease corn yield more in cooler areas and the effect is exacerbated even further in areas that have poor drainage," said Yan Li, a former U. of I. postdoctoral researcher and lead author of the study.

Excessive rainfall can affect crop productivity in various ways, including direct physical damage, delayed planting and harvesting, restricted root growth, oxygen deficiency and nutrient loss, the researchers said.

"It is challenging to simulate the effects of excessive rainfall because of the vast amount of seemingly minor details," Li said. "It is difficult to create a model based on the processes that occur after heavy rainfall – poor drainage due to small surface features, water table depth and various soil properties can lead to ponding of water in a crop field. Even though the ponding may take place over a small area, it could have a large effect on crop damage."

"This study shows that we have a lot of work to do to improve our models," said Evan DeLucia, the director of the Institute for Sustainability, Energy and Environment, a professor of integrative biology and study co-author. "While drought and heat stress have been well dealt with in the existing models, excessive rainfall impacts on crop system are much less mature."

Many climate change models predict that the U.S. Corn Belt region will continue to experience more intense rainfall events in the spring. Because of this, the researchers feel that it is urgent for the government and farmers to design better risk management plans to deal with the predicted climate scenarios.

"As rainfall becomes more extreme, crop insurance needs to evolve to better meet planting challenges faced by farmers," said Gary Schnitkey, a professor of agricultural and consumer economics and study co-author.

The USDA, National Institute of Food and Agriculture and the U.S. Department of Energy supported this study.

To reach Kaiyu Guan, call 217-300-2690;

The paper "Excessive rainfall leads to maize yield loss of a comparable magnitude to extreme drought in the United States" is available online at and from the U. of I. News Bureau. DOI: 10.1111/gcb.14628.

Annual Soil Fertility Program Coming February 28 (CEU credits available) Wed, 30 Jan 2019 11:13:00 +0000 This webinar will be hosted in the U of I Extension Offices in Logan County (Lincoln, IL). Presentations will be delivered via PowerPoint and web conferencing from 9 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. and lunch will be provided.

"Those in attendance will hear about the latest University of Illinois research on the long term effects of crop rotation and tillage, as well as the relationship between cover crops and soil nitrogen availability. Other presenters from the University of Wisconsin, Western Illinois University, and the Illinois SWCD will discuss nutrient loss on tile drained land, nutrient management in organic systems, and a farmer-led program to improve soil health," says Jesse Soule, U of I Extension educator.

Presentations include:

·Managing Phosphorus Loss in Tile Systems, Aaron Pape, University of Wisconsin Discovery Farms, Tile Drainage Education Coordinator

·Cover Crops and Soil N Availability in Corn & Soybean Systems, Lowell Gentry, University of Illinois, Principal Research Specialist in Agriculture

·Long term Crop Rotation and Tillage Effects on Soil GHG Emissions and Crop Production in Illinois, Gevan Behnke, University of Illinois, Senior Research Specialist

·S.T.A.R. A Farmer-Led Program to Reduce Nutrient and Soil Losses and Improve Soil Health, Bruce Henrikson, Champaign SWCD, Special Projects Coordinator

·Understanding and Extending Organic Nutrient Management Concepts, Joel Gruver, Western Illinois University, Associate Professor of Soil Science & Sustainable Agriculture

Those planning to attend are asked to register by Tuesday, February 26. Registration can completed online at: or by calling the Logan County Extension office at 217-732-8289.

2019 Certified Livestock Manager Training Workshops Coming to Springfield Fri, 07 Dec 2018 15:00:00 +0000 On-line registration NOW open at:
The 2019 Certified Livestock Manager Training workshops, will be held in 11 locations throughout the state, beginning Jan. 30 in Springfield and concluding Feb. 28 back in Springfield. The University of Illinois Extension workshops provide Illinois livestock producers the manure management training they need to meet the requirements of the state's Livestock Management Facilities Act.

The Livestock Management Facilities Act requires facilities with 300 or more animal units to have at least one employee certified in proper manure handling procedures.For facilities with 300 to 999 animal units, at least one employee must attend a workshoporpass the Illinois Department of Agriculture's Certified Livestock Manager exam.Employees of facilities with 1,000 or more animal units must do both to achieve certification.

Please note that all workshops begin at 9 a.m. with the exception of the Jan. 30 training at the Illinois Pork Expo which will start at 12:30 p.m. All trainings will take 3 1/2 hours with the IDOA exam administered after the training.

2019 Workshop dates and locations are as follows:

January 30 - (starts at 12:30 p.m., pre-register to receive free box lunch); Bank of Springfield Center, 1 Convention Center Plaza, Springfield

January 31- U of I Extension-Effingham County, 1209 North Wenthe Drive, Effingham

February 5 - The Holiday Motel and Restaurant, 1300 S West St, Olney

February 6 - U of I Extension-Franklin County, 1212 Route 14 West, Benton

February 7 - Paul's United Church of Christ, 330 N Buhrman, Nashville

February 12- U of I Extension/Pike County Farm Bureau Bldg, 1301 E Washington, Pittsfield

February 13 - U of I Extension-Clinton County, 1163 North 4th Street, Breese

February 19 - Warren-Henderson Farm Bureau, 1000 N Main St., Monmouth

February 20- Stephenson County Farm Bureau Bldg, 210 W. Spring St, Freeport

February 21- DeKalb County Farm Bureau Bldg, 1350 W. Prairie Drive, Sycamore

February 28 - Illinois Department of Ag Bldg. Auditorium, State Fairgrounds, Springfield

Each workshop will offer a general curriculum designed to keep producers current on the latest industry practices. The curriculum covers the basics of nutrient management as well as new technologies, research, and trends, so producers who have completed the training and are renewing their certification will benefit.

Producers are encouraged to preregister at least two weeks prior to ensure a seat for the session that fits their schedule. To register, call 217-244-9687 or register online at The cost is $35. If more than one employee from the same farm signs up, each additional registration will cost $25. Lunch will not be offered, but coffee and snacks will be provided. However, a box lunch will be provided by Illinois Pork Producers for producers that pre-register be the January 30 workshop at the Illinois Pork Expo.)

The current training manual used for Certified Livestock Manager Training is the Livestock and Poultry Environmental Stewardship Curriculum. This curriculum is available for free online at If you have a manual or CD that is older than 2003, you should check the website for information for update options. IDOA CLM Exam questions are taken directly from this manual. Some of this curriculum will be covered during the workshops. However, it is impossible to cover all of the exam material in one workshop, so acquiring and reviewing the manual in advance is highly recommended.

Please visit the Certified Livestock Managers Training webpage at for more information about registration, manuals, online training options, and other resources.

Producers and employees also have the option of taking five online quizzes.Passing these is the equivalent of having attended a workshop, but does not substitute for passing the state administered Certified Livestock Manager exam. Registration is open for the CLM Online Training Program at There is no charge to take the online quizzes other than the cost of a manual.

Source: Richard Gates, 217-244-2791,
News writer: Stephanie Henry, 217-244-1183,
Precautions for Dicamba Use in Xtend Soybeans Wed, 21 Nov 2018 15:59:00 +0000 Wondering how to manage dicamba in dicamba-tolerant soybeans in 2019? Find out what four Extension and university weed specialists, Aaron Hager with the University of Illinois, Bill Johnson and Joe Ikley with Purdue University, and Mark Loux at The Ohio State University, are recommending regarding dicamba. They just released a bulletin with five additional suggestions to reduce off-site movement of dicamba. This is in response to the EPA's label for dicamba use that was released in October.

In addition to the eight label restrictions the EPA detailed in its updated label for dicamba use, the bulletin provides five additional recommendations, citing, "one can do everything "per the label" but still have offsite movement."

Their full recommendations can be found here:


Integrated Pest Management: What Are Economic Thresholds, and How Are They Developed? Wed, 24 Oct 2018 14:04:00 +0000 Author: Nick Seiter, Department of Crop Sciences, University of Illinois.

An insect control action (such as spraying an insecticide or planting a corn hybrid that incorporates a Bt trait) is only justified once the population of an insect pest reaches a certain level. This makes sense if you consider how foolish it would be to spray an entire soybean field because you found a single bean leaf beetle. However, determining the critical level of pest activity where a control action is needed can be challenging. Management guidelines for a particular insect pest include a population density, usually referred to as the "action threshold," that is used to determine if a control tactic is justified. As long as the pest density remains below this threshold no action is needed, but if the insect population density exceeds this level, a control action is recommended. How high or low this level is depends on how much damage can be tolerated, which in turn varies depending on the situation; for example, in the case of a medically important insect such as a mosquito that spreads malaria, there is no level of infection that we could reasonably tolerate. However, in agriculture we can easily determine the value of the product that we are trying to produce, and can set an action threshold based on this value. This is referred to as an economic threshold, and is the basis of integrated pest management recommendations in crop production.

The goal of the economic threshold is to prevent a pest population from reaching the point where its damage causes monetary losses that are equal to the cost of control. This "break-even" point is referred to as an economic injury level. This can be calculated using a formula.

Get the formula and learn more about determining economic injury thresholds by visiting farmdocDaily at:
Like any other input, the goal of an insect control measure should be to provide a positive return on investment, in this case by preserving enough yield to justify its cost. Using the economic threshold concept to guide these decisions helps to ensure that pest control actions will "pencil out" on the operation's balance sheet. In addition, by using these tools only when they are truly needed, the additional costs of pest control (especially the development of resistance to tactics and the potential non-target effects of insecticides) can be minimized.
Record Corn Yield Forecast Weakens Corn Prices Mon, 17 Sep 2018 12:58:00 +0000
  • Todd Hubbs
  • Department of Agricultural and Consumer Economics
  • University of Illinois
  • Source: Hubbs, T. "Record Corn Yield Forecast Weakens Corn Prices." farmdoc daily (8):172, Department of Agricultural and Consumer Economics, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, September 17, 2018. Permalink

    The USDA crop production report released last Wednesday led to a drop in corn prices as a record yield forecast surprised the market. The December corn futures price dropped to contract lows by the close on Friday. While corn consumption continues at a healthy pace, the prospect of a massive corn crop will continue to put pressure on prices.

    The USDA September corn production forecast for 2018 came in at 14.827 billion bushels, up 241 million bushels over the August forecast. The corn yield projection of 181.4 bushels per acre, up 2.9 bushels from August, sits 5.3 bushels above the previous record. Over the last twenty years, the USDA's September yield forecast ended up higher than the final yield estimate only five times. A change in corn yield forecast that provides some hope would look like the 2010 crop year. The final yield estimate ended up almost ten bushels per acre below the September forecast during that crop year. The yield projection met some skepticism due to the record-busting yield projections in many Corn Belt states. While it is tempting to discount this yield projection, the September yield forecast over the last five years only witnessed a yield decrease once, and the change was for less than a bushel.

    Despite the strong record of accomplishment recently of USDA yield projections, the yields projected for top-producing states merit consideration. Yield prospects for the top ten states in harvested corn acreage this year, which compromise approximately 75 percent of all harvested acres, increased in eight of those states. Compared to the August forecast, yield prospects for the top ten states in corn acreage increased in Illinois, Iowa, Indiana, Ohio, Missouri, Nebraska, Kansas, and South Dakota. Yield prospects declined in North Dakota and remained the same for Minnesota. In six of those states, the forecasted yield came in at record levels. Illinois and Nebraska came in 13 bushels per acre above the previous record yield at 214 and 198 bushels per acre respectively. The forecasts for Ohio and South Dakota were 11 and 12 bushels per acre above their last record yields. Iowa and Indiana came in at a mere four and three bushel per acre above previous records respectively. While 2018 witnessed good growing conditions for corn, the forecasts for many Corn Belt states indicate large deviations from trend.

    On the back of the record yield projection, the forecast of total supply for corn during the 2018-19 marketing year increased 215 million bushels to 16.879 billion bushels. Beginning stocks fell by 25 million bushels on stronger consumption to close out the 2017-18 marketing year. The ending stocks estimate for 2018-19 increased by 90 million bushels to 1.174 billion bushels. The muted growth in ending stocks related to stronger use projections in all consumption categories due to rising production prospects and lower prices. The USDA increased to 2018-19 feed and residual use forecast by 50 million bushels to 5.575 billion bushels. Food, Seed, and Industrial consumption increased 125 million bushels to 7.13 billion bushels on stronger ethanol and industrial use. Corn export projections increased by 50 million bushels to 2.4 billion bushels. The forecast of the seasonal average corn price came in down 10 cents in a range of $3.00 -$4.00. An adjustment to this year's production forecast or a sharp demand increase appears necessary to see prices in the upper part of this range during the current marketing year.

    Despite the prospect of a large U.S. crop, increased consumption throughout the world continues to reduce global ending stocks. World production projections for 2018-19 increased 3.4 percent from last year's estimate to 42.08 billion bushels. The September world ending stocks forecast increased slightly to 6.18 billion bushels from August projections. World ending stocks are down 1.4 billion bushels from the 2017-18 marketing year estimate. The changes place world stocks to use at 11.7 percent, down from 13.4 percent last marketing year. The projected size of the Brazilian corn crop remained at 3.72 billion bushels, up 15 percent from the disappointing recent crop. Corn production projections for Argentina currently sit at 1.61 billion bushels, up 28 percent from this year's production estimate. An expansion in corn acreage looks probable in Argentina this year due to the recent policy change regarding export taxes in the soybean complex. At 8.85 billion bushels, Chinese corn production is up 4.21 percent from last year's estimate. A projected decrease in ending stocks in China by 766 million bushels, on stronger domestic use, encapsulates approximately 52 percent of the ending stocks decrease forecast for the world.

    The market now anticipates yield reports from the field as harvest commences and the October production forecast. Corn prices will be dependent on consumption throughout the marketing year barring a reduction in production levels. Corn use continues to show strength at the lower corn prices in place in the market. While there is potential for a higher corn yield as we move through harvest, the impact on corn prices may be minimal. Conversely, any reduction in corn yields sets up the potential for a strong rally.

    YouTube Video: Discussion and graphs associated with this article.