Pork Promotion Builds Demand in Mexico

With the U.S. Meat Export Federation (USMEF), the ISA checkoff program maintains a long-term investment in Mexico pork promotion.  The demand development campaign combines TV ads, signage and in-store promotions.  During the five years of the campaign, U.S. pork exports have increased nearly 20 percent.  At least 53 percent of targeted consumers report they enjoy pork at least once a week -- a benefit for soybean and pig farmers, since pigs eat 74 percent of the soybean meal fed in Illinois.
 

USDA Increases Record Soybean Yield in October Report

USDA raised its average U.S. soybean yield estimate by 0.8 bushels per acre to 51.4 bushels per acre this month, establishing another record high.  U.S. soybean production this year is forecast at a record 4.269 billion bushels.  USDA increased average yields for several soybean states, including Illinois, which increased from an average 60 to 61 bushels per acre.  Meanwhile, a recent analysis by Gary Schnitkey at the University of Illinois found corn has been less profitable than soybeans in recent years.  Although total acres in corn and soybeans have been stable since 2000, corn acres have declined while soybean acres have increased.  Schnitkey says the profitability outlook seems to favor more soybeans in 2017. 
 

NYC Council Approves Increased Biodiesel in Heating Oil

The New York City Council last month voted overwhelmingly to gradually increase the amount of biodiesel blended in heating oil to 20 percent during the next 18 years. The bill will increase the biodiesel level from the current two to five percent by Oct. 1, 2017, then continue to increase to 10 percent in 2025, 15 percent in 2030 and 20 percent in 2034.  The National Biodiesel Board supports this success story through environmental sustainability work funded in part by the ISA checkoff program.
 

Analysis Finds Microbes Flourish with Reduced Tillage

A University of Illinois meta-analysis of 62 studies shows consistent patterns across a large geographical area for the effect of tillage on soil microbes.  Researchers found microbial biomass and enzymatic activity both are greater in no-till systems, as opposed to tilled systems.  In terms of microbial biomass, tilled systems that used a chisel plow were equivalent to no-till systems.  Researchers suggest soil microbial biomass and enzymatic activity can stand in as proxies for soil quality, so farmers should consider moving toward no-till or conservation tillage systems to improve soil health.
 

Illinois Researchers Confirm PPO Inhibitor Resistance in Palmer Amaranth

Researchers have announced PPO inhibitor resistance in Palmer amaranth.  The determination makes Illinois the third state, behind Arkansas and Tennessee, to confirm the issue.  Southern Illinois University (SIU) Carbondale, in coordination with testing by the University of Illinois, made the determination.  Three populations showed control failure after treatment with PPO inhibitor active ingredients, and are believed to still be in the early stages of resistance development.  For more information, visit the website for International Survey of Herbicide Resistant Weeds or contact Karla Gage at kgage@siu.edu.
 

NRCS Announces EQIP Application Deadlines in Illinois

Illinois farmers can submit applications to the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NCRS) for the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) now through Nov. 18 and again through Jan 20, 2017.  Producers can sign up any time throughout the year, but applications now allow farmers to compete for funding in these two periods.  Funding can be used to manage soil erosion and water quality, livestock grazing and confinement, organic farming and wildlife habitat.  For more information, click here.
 

Ag Groups Participate in IDNR Monarch Strategy Development

Illinois Farm Bureau, GROWMARK Inc., Illinois Corn Growers Association and USDA Farm Service Agency and NRCS representatives participated in a recent meeting with the Illinois Department of Natural Resources (IDNR) to discuss the issues associated with monarch butterfly populations and management.  IDNR must have an Illinois conservation plan completed and submitted to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFW) by spring 2018.  USFW is considering whether to list monarchs as a threatened or endangered species, and is expected to make a final decision in June 2019. 
 

USFRA Releases Video about Sustainable Food Production

The U.S. Farmers and Ranchers Alliance (USFRA) recently produced and released a short video about the sustainability of American farms.  The video is narrated by a Kansas farmer, and can be viewed here.
 

New Method Provides Tool to Develop Nematode-Resistant Varieties

Soybean cyst nematode (SCN) is the number one soybean pest worldwide, accounting for estimated annual losses of nearly $1.3 billion in the U.S.  Some soybean varieties have resistance, but the current level of resistance is becoming less reliable.  Now University of Illinois plant breeder Brian Diers, geneticist Matthew Hudson and University of Wisconsin collaborator Andrew Bent have discovered the naturally occurring genetic locus that is critical in controlling resistance to SCN.  A repeat of four genes exists at the locus, and different resistant soybean types are known to have different numbers of repeats.  The researchers plan to look at the number of repeats present in existing nematode-resistant varieties to explain why some display better resistance than others in field settings.  They also plan to improve breeding programs by ensuring parental lines have the maximum number of repeats available in a given genotype, and to select for new variants with additional copies that may show superior resistance.
 

New Booklet Gives Farmers Strategies to Reduce Nitrogen Runoff

A new University of Illinois Extension booklet provides details on 10 suggested practices for farmers to reduce nitrogen loss.  University of Illinois assistant professor of water quality Laura Christianson says the practices are broken down into three categories: reducing nitrate in the plant root zone, reducing delivery of nitrate to the field’s edge, and removing nitrate at the edge of the field or downstream.  Each practice comes with a detailed description, how it improves water quality, how effective it is, where it will work, whether it has any additional benefits, and its level of acceptance.  The booklet also contains a chapter on economic considerations of each strategy.  An online course for certified crop advisers is being developed to accompany the booklet, which is co-authored by Extension faculty from Purdue University, South Dakota State University, Iowa State University and the University of Minnesota, and collaborators at the Iowa Soybean Association.  It is currently available as a free download at Christianson’s website.
 

New Webcast Helps Identify, Manage Fusarium Root Rot

Fusarium root rot is a common disease often overlooked because there are few above-ground symptoms.  Providing an in-depth look at this soil-borne pathogen is a new educational presentation from the Plant Management Network (PMN) entitled, The Fusarium Root Rot Complex of Soybean Caused by the Fungus Fusarium, now available as part of the Focus on Soybean resource for growers, crop consultants and Extension agents.  The webcast, developed by Berlin Nelson Jr. at North Dakota State University, describes how complex communities of Fusarium species in soils infect soybean root systems and can lead to stunted growth, diminished plant health and yield loss.  The 17-minute presentation will remain open access through Nov. 30 in the Focus on Soybean webcast resource.
 

The Election Is Coming.  Are You Ready?

Mark your calendars for Election Day, Nov. 8.  Farmers will be voting for the next president of the United States, as well as other congressional, state and local officials.  Voter turnout is expected to reach record highs.  Given the current economic and political climate in Illinois, it is more important than ever to make your voice heard.  Make your trip to the polls easier by registering to vote ahead of time.  Click here for an online voter registration application.  And for the latest on issues that matter to Illinois soybean farmers, head to Voice for Soy and click on “Key Issues.”
 

Help Turn up the Volume with ISGPAC

As the 2016 general election season is in full swing, Illinois soybean farmers are invited to turn up the volume with the Illinois Soybean Growers Political Action Committee (ISGPAC).  ISGPAC provides farmers with strong involvement in political races, and a direct pipeline to tell senators and representatives about the issues that matter most to Illinois farmers:  transportation efficiency, expanding animal agriculture, worldwide market access support, plus biodiesel, trade, energy, taxes and agricultural research.  Farmers can directly support legislators who take a leadership role on soybean priorities and policies.  ISGPAC helps nurture those relationships and keeps key contacts in office where they work for the industry's best interests.  To contribute, visit ISGPAC online or contact Judy Smith at 309-808-3612 or smithj@ilsoy.org.
 

ISG Takes New Direction with Membership Program

Illinois Soybean Growers (ISG) is increasing its focus on policy issues affecting Illinois soybean producers to keep positive legislation in place and motivate leaders to add new policies that ensure American agriculture is not destroyed by anti-ag activists.  One of the core resources that makes our country great is the ability to produce our own food and fuel.  Yet every year, thousands of family farmers are pushed off their land due to new taxes, regulations and legislative pressures. 
 
How do you keep Capitol Hill from impacting the income you use to support your family?  How do you stop them from putting obstacles in your way?  To bring growers the most value possible, we now have two options: policy membership and regular membership.  Membership in ASA is included with both options.  Contact Judy Smith at smithj@ilsoy.org, 309-808-3612 or 888-826-4011 to join or renew.
  • ISG Policy Member: Activate your power to join us in educating people about the facts and importance of American agriculture.  Help us be the people that government officials stop and listen to in Springfield and Washington, D.C.  Be a driving force for change.  The more members we add, the louder our voice becomes.  Our policy membership keeps you informed, gets you involved and gives you added discounts and benefits.  A one-year membership is $150 and a three-year membership is $300.  Benefits from ISG and ASA include the following:
    • Automatic enrollment and Acton Alert emails from ISG’s Voice for Soy Action Network
    • Invitations to legislative networking events
    • Opportunity to participate in the ISG Political Action Committee
    • Expanded policy representation/advocates in Springfield and Washington, D.C.
    • Discounts on new Ford, Chrysler and GM vehicles
    • 10% discount on Cabela’s gift cards
    • 10% discount on any new DTN/The Progressive Farmer product or service agreement
    • Discounts on Commodity Classic registration
    • Discounts on DTN/The Progressive Farmer Ag Summit registration (December in Chicago)
    • Complimentary subscriptions to three top soybean magazines:  Illinois Field & Bean, American Soybean and The Progressive Farmer
    • Email updates from the Soybean Weekly Update and eBean News
  • ISG Regular Member: if you just want to stay informed about the agriculture industry, simply supply your name and email address and you receive the Soybean Weekly Update sent via email and the Illinois Field & Bean magazine (eight times per year).  
 

ASA Seeks Scholarship Candidates

The American Soybean Association (ASA) is looking for applicants for its Soy Scholarship.  The $5,000, one-time award is presented to a high school senior who plans to pursue agriculture at any accredited college or university in the 2017-18 academic year.  The scholarship is managed by ASA and made possible through a grant by BASF Corporation.  High school seniors may apply online now through Nov. 21, 2016.  The student must be a child or grandchild of a current state affiliate and ASA member, maintain successful academic progress and be in good standing with the college or university to receive the full amount of the scholarship.  Final selection will be made in December during the ASA Board meeting.  The student will be notified prior to an official announcement made during Commodity Classic in San Antonio, March 2-4, 2017.  More information is available from ASA.
 

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Tweet of the Week

How to choose the best variety selection for your fields from @skporter: http://ilsoy.co/2di22Zc #ILSoy