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  • Day 1: Common ground
    Just finishing up Day One of the Delmarva trip. For those of you who aren’t familiar with the word — which included me a few days ago — Delmarva is the term used for the region of the Chesapeake Bay that includes Delaware and parts of Maryland and Virginia. 
  • Soy checkoff helps commercialize 33 new products
    What does foam that keeps floors from squeaking have in common with NASCAR racing tires? Both contain soybean oil. Both are on the list of 33 new products commercialized in 2014 with soy checkoff support. And both are driving demand for U.S. soybeans. 
  • Inadequate nutrition may affect reproduction in cows
    There are number of reasons for reproduction problems in cows. One often overlooked is nutrition. And sometimes too much of a good thing is the culprit. 
  • Petunia the Pig gains fame as social media butterfly
    She’s got the ample rear assets that a certain Kardashian sister might envy. Like the famous siblings, she likes to hang with her sisters, although they occasionally do get into squabbles. 
  • Feed quality affects milk production levels
    The challenge for many forage producers is to determine the optimum time for harvesting the crop. “There is a love-hate relationship when you harvest any forage,” said David Weakley, with Forage Genetics International. 
  • Cover crop success may depend on right corn hybrids
    Farmers thinking about inter-seeding cover crops in the fall may want to consider the corn hybrids they plant in the spring. 
  • Midwestern, German heritages combine for fine wines
    The road to White Oak Vineyards began at a Minnesota farm show, detoured to Germany for 22 years and included a three-hour stop near Mackinaw. 
  • Day 1: To Chesapeake Bay
    I’ll be flying to Baltimore today to get a head start on what promises to be a fascinating tour of the Chesapeake Bay region this week. I’m joining a number of Illinois soybean growers and others in a fact-finding trip in which we hope to learn more about what farmers there are doing to address the effects of excess sediment and nutrients on water quality. 
  • Written lease important regardless of the terms
    The most important aspect of any farm lease is to have it in writing. “If you haven’t done that, that’s where you need to start – get it in writing,” said Tim Harris, an accredited farm manager for Capital Agricultural Property Services. 
  • Challenge to manage farms during volatile periods
    The mood in agriculture is cautiously optimistic. “A few years ago agriculture was going like gangbusters, but now it is in transition,” said David Kohl, professor emeritus of agricultural and applied economics at Virginia Tech. 
  • World Pork Expo to be June 3-5
    The dates are set for the 2015 World Pork Expo — June 3-5 at the Iowa State Fairgrounds in Des Moines. World Pork Expo is sponsored by the National Pork Producers Council and presents a range of activities, including the world’s largest pork-specific trade show, educational seminars and swine shows and sales. 
  • Low prices putting brakes on hog expansion
    Larger numbers of hogs plus U.S. Department of Agriculture revisions that increase hog statistics equals expansion of the U.S. pork industry. Right? Not so fast, said three noted livestock economists in response to the second-quarter 2015 USDA Hogs and Pigs report. 
  • Illinois pork producers moving slowly on expansion
    Illinois pork producers are taking it slow when it comes to expanding hog numbers in the state after two winters of battling porcine epidemic diarrhea virus. 
  • GOP pitches voluntary GMO-free label program
    Inspired by the popular “USDA organic” label, House Republicans are proposing a new government certification for foods free of genetically modified ingredients. 
  • Specialty crop grants available
    The Illinois Department of Agriculture is accepting proposals for federal specialty crop grants. The agency has been notified Illinois will receive more than $600,000 and instructed to begin the proposal selection process. 
 



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