R.F.D. NEWS & VIEWS: Ag Barometer, Beef Month and more

By Tim Alexander for Chronicle Media

State-raised beef is in the spotlight during May Beef Month in Illinois.

This week: the fallout from the White House trade war with China and uncertainties regarding other foreign trade deals is leading to record low confidence in the ag economy, while crop planting is in high gear in Illinois. Also: May is Beef Month, Governor Rauner proclaimed last week, and the IDOA has announced dates and locations for free agrichemical recycling. Please read on …

‘Ag Barometer’ drops ten points

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. — A decline in expectations for future economic conditions and a dwindling perception of current conditions led to a 10-point drop from the March Purdue University/CME Group ‘Ag Barometer.’ This is according to Jim Mintert, director of the Center for Commercial Agriculture at Purdue, who said producers appear to be more pessimistic about trade, soybean prices and the challenging times that could be on the horizon for livestock producers.

“Producers are more negative about future ag export prospects,” Mintert commented. “We saw some of that a month ago, but it was exacerbated in this month’s report. The percentage of producers expecting lower exports in the next five years were 17 percent compared to 10 percent a month ago.” Approximately 400 producers are polled each month on various aspects of the ag economy to determine the monthly Ag Barometer. (FarmJournal Broadcast)

Planting progress improves across state

SPRINGFIELD — “Producers were able to make significant progress planting corn and have begun planting soybeans over the past week,” said Mark Schleusener, Illinois State Statistician for the USDA Illinois National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS). “There were 5.6 days suitable for fieldwork during the week ending April 29.”

Indeed, the past couple of weeks’ weather has brought machinery forth from sheds and into farm fields throughout most of Illinois, with brief but helpful interruptions from rainfall. Precipitation statewide for the week was just .32 inches, .54 inches below normal. However, topsoil and subsoil moisture levels are holding steady, with topsoil moisture rated 74 percent adequate and 12 percent surplus, and subsoil moisture rated 79 percent adequate and 9 percent surplus.

Despite the trend of favorable weather, corn planting remained behind schedule throughout the state. Corn planted was at 32 percent, compared to 59 percent last year and the five-year average of 40 percent. Soybeans planted was at 7 percent, down 5 percent from 2017 planting but still two percentage points ahead of the five year average. Winter wheat headed reached 5 percent, compared to 61 percent last year and the five-year average of 18 percent, according to the April 30 Illinois Crop Progress and Condition report.

State, IBA promoting beef during May

SPRINGFIELD — State-raised beef is in the spotlight during May Beef Month in Illinois. The designation was made official by Gov. Bruce Rauner, who signed a proclamation in recognition of the importance of the beef industry to the state’s economy. Beef will be promoted vigorously in May through radio advertisements, Ag in the Classroom, grill-outs and local farm tours, the Illinois Beef Association announced.

“The beef industry is a huge industry with a great economic and societal impact,” said Joni Bucher, IBA president. “Beef Month is an opportunity to connect with consumers and explain that beef is known for its great taste, it’s a food of strength with protein and 10 essential nutrients, and it’s responsibly raised.” The IBA is teaming with 17 HyVee supermarkets to offer shoppers complimentary beef recipe cards, meat thermometers and food samples this month. The IBA encourages readers of this publication to head to the supermarket and grab their favorite cut of meat to celebrate May Beef Month in Illinois and help support Illinois’ beef industry.

Illinois Farm Fact:

The beef industry in Illinois makes up 32 percent of the livestock labor force, while supporting 8,264 jobs. (Illinois Beef Association)

IDOA offers free agrichemical recycling

SPRINGFIELD — The Illinois Department of Agriculture is offering farmers an opportunity to be good agricultural stewards through their annual agrichemical container recycling program offered at select recycling sites across the state. IDOA Director Raymond Poe announced the 2018 collection dates, but cautioned that only high-density polyethylene, #2 agrichemical containers that are clean and dry will be accepted at the collection sites. In addition, participants are responsible for rinsing and removing labels from all containers, along with labels, booklets and foil seals. Metal and household pesticide containers will not be accepted.

“In 2017, we held 31 single-day collection sites and collected more than 86,000 pounds of plastic from approximately 115,000 containers,” said Poe. “What’s great about this program is that we can recycle those collected containers and make shipping pallets, fence posts, drainage tubing, plastic lumber and other useful products.”

In addition to two permanent collection sites, in Greene County at CHS Inc., and in Lawrence County at Klein Flying Service, single-site dates begin July 24 in Pike County and end on Aug. 24 in Macoupin County. All collection dates and locations for the 2018 event can be accessed on the IDOA website or by calling the department at 800-641-3934.

IPPA offers tree buffer cost-sharing

SPRINGFIELD — The Illinois Pork Producers Association is bringing back its successful tree buffer cost-sharing program for a second year. The incentive is designed for farmers to implement fresh landscaping on their operations through the establishment of buffers, or areas of trees strategically placed to provide a windbreak, recycle clean air and provide curb appeal to a landscape.

IPPA will match up to $2,500 of the cost of installing tree buffers on pig farms on a first-come first-serve basis. The funding is for the purchase of trees and shrubs, landscape design and tree placement. Environmental engineer Ted Funk is providing research and planning assistance for farmers enrolled in the project. A local Extension engineer may also be consulted as part of the planning process. Contact the IPPA for more details.



–R.F.D. NEWS & VIEWS: Ag Barometer, Beef Month and more–