R.F.D. NEWS & VIEWS: U of I Feed Tech Center makes debut

By Tim Alexander for Chronicle Media

The new, $20 million University of Illinois College of ACES Feed Technology Center has opened at the site of a former feed mill. (U of I photo)

This week’s report offers the latest Illinois crop conditions, along with information on the opening of the new, $20 million Feed Technology Center at the University of Illinois. We also have info on Illinois’ new soybean promotion campaign and the return of in-person agricultural field days offered by the Illinois Farm Bureau. For more, please read on …


U of I Feed Tech Center makes debut

URBANA — The new, $20 million Feed Technology Center is open and doing business near the campus of the University of Illinois.

“The Feed Technology Center is a game-changing asset that elevates our ability to live into our land-grant mission,” said Kim Kidwell, dean of the U of I College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences, in a university news release. “This facility not only expands our ability to conduct innovative research and train the next generation of leaders in animal nutrition, it gives us a new avenue to reach out to industry stakeholders and provide continuing education opportunities.”

The 12,000-square-foot facility, which replaced an old feed mill, boasts state of the art processing and censor technologies that can deliver standard and specialized small-batch research diets for livestock and poultry. It includes smart sensors to monitor feed ingredient quality in real time, along with digital automation tools that ensure precise diet formulations. In addition, the Center offers users and livestock the latest in safety and sanitation features.

The Center will also, naturally, be utilized for hands-on educational opportunities for students enrolled in ACES courses.

“We have incredible opportunities here at the Feed Technology Center, for students, researchers, and industry partners alike,” according to facility manager Michaela Braun. “The equipment not only makes it possible for students to gain exposure to the complete modern feed-production process, from whole grain storage to pelleting and extrusion, but also makes real-time data available to researchers at multiple points in the process. It’s all here to advance the animal agriculture industry.” (ACES news)


With crops heat-stressed, soybean futures tumble

SPRINGFIELD — A forecast of cooler, wetter weather in key soybean-producing states is factoring into the recent tumble in prices for both corn and soybeans. Last week saw soybean prices fall by 32 cents per bushel on Monday, only to continue to decrease by as much as 84 cents for July soybeans before Friday, June 18.

In Illinois during the week ending June 13, the average temperature was 78.2 degrees, 7.3 degrees above normal, according to the latest USDA-NASS Illinois Crop Progress and Condition report. Dry conditions persevere, with precipitation averaging 0.70 inches during the week, 0.24 inches below normal. Topsoil moisture quality continued to deteriorate, with 6 percent very short, 28 percent short, 56 percent adequate and 10 percent surplus. Subsoil moisture supply was rated 5 percent very short, 25 percent short, 63 percent adequate and 7 percent surplus.

Corn condition in Illinois as of July 13 was rated 1 percent very poor, 3 percent poor, 28 percent fair, 57 percent good, and 11 percent excellent. Soybean condition was rated 1 percent very poor, 4 percent poor, 32 percent fair, 53 percent good, and 10 percent excellent. Winter wheat condition was rated 1 percent very poor, 1 percent poor, 16 percent fair, 59 percent good, and 23 percent excellent, according to USDA-NASS.


IFB in-person field days returning

CUBA — The Fulton County Farm Bureau will host its first in-person field day since the COVID-19 pandemic put a temporary end to large gatherings on Monday, June 28. The field day, which will run from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., will be held at the rural Metropolitan Water Reclamation District  of Greater Chicago’s Fulton County research site, located at 15779 W. Hickory Road, in Cuba.

Along with University of Illinois researchers and Cook County Farm Bureau leaders, the WMRD and FCFB are working to develop a rural-urban exchange program for farmers in both counties. A primary goal of the partnership is to work together to develop and test conservation-related field management practices that support the tenets of the Illinois Nutrient Loss Reduction Strategy.

The field day will include three stops at active research sites located within the property, offering a close-up look at cover crops, a denitrifying bioreactor and edge-of-field grass buffer systems. On-site registration starts at 11 a.m., when a pre-tour lunch will be offered before activities begin at 11:30 a.m.

Those interested in attending can contact the Illinois Farm Bureau’s Raelynn Parmely (rparmely@ilfb.org; (309) 557-3250) for more information. Post-event video materials will be made available at www.ilfb.org/FieldDays. (IFB news)


ISA unveils ‘SoyFromIllinois’ promotion

BLOOMINGTON — A new media campaign by the Illinois Soybean Association, “SoyFromIllinois,” seeks to generate appreciation and support for state soybean production and farmers. The promotional effort is geared toward extolling the myriad ways soy is a part of consumers’ everyday lives, showcasing the versatility and sustainability of the legume, and establishing soybeans as a crop consumers and decision-makers can rely on.

“The 43,000 soybean farmers in Illinois work hard to continually deliver a sustainable and reliable product year after year that directly supports the Illinois economy in a number of ways most people would be surprised to learn. We’re excited to share those stories, and to grow awareness of our farmers’ impact,” said Rachel Peabody, ISA director of communications.

Branding and outreach efforts will be visible on television and social media, along with email correspondence and community surveys. (ISA news)


Illinois Farm Fact:

Illinois is the largest soybean producing state in the nation, producing more than 604 million bushels of soybeans annually across 10.25 million acres of land. (Illinois Soybean Association)

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