National FFA Week
State Officers - Rachel Hawk - VP and August Shetter - Reporter share their thoughts on National FFA week and their experiences as State Officers.
Keeping Grain in top condition
Randy Holthaus with Growmark talks about the importance to keeping grain stored the right way through a brutal winter
IPT Bull Sale Feb. 20
Travis Meteer talks about the The Illinois Performance Tested Bull Sale coming up at the Beef Expo.
Farm Bill Passes House
Mark Gebhards, Executive Dir. of Governmental Affairs and Commodities with the IL Farm Bureau, says they are relieved to see the farm bill moving forward.
Scholarships from Farm Credit Illinois
Rod Stoll with Farm Credit Illinois offers up details on scholarship money being offered to students.
Allgaier Will Run on Sprint Cup Series
Riverton Native Justin Allgaier will have Brandt along for 21 races on the Sprint Cup series in 2014.
Rep. Rodney Davis on Farm BIll
Rep. Rodney Davis says today that believes a compromise will soon be announced on stubborn dairy policy that has been holding up the farm bill in Congress. Congress won’t be back to work until the week of January 27th but a vote could happen then.
Farm Toy Auction
Ben Ladage will be auctioning off hundreds of farm toys and other toys this weekend in Springfield.
Gov. Pat Quinn at IFB
Quinn met with reporters after he spoke to the General Session.
Farm Bill Deal Close?
Rep. Rodney Davis (R-13) is serving on both the WRRDA and Farm Bill Conference Committee. Hear his updates on both bills. A framework on the farm bill could be close

Ag Director - Steve Bridge

Steve joined the WFMB family in 2002. He started working as a part-time host of the Press box on Wednesday's and Thursdays. Although not from farming family he took over the role of farm broadcaster for the station in 2009.
Steve grew up in west central Illinois in Macomb. After graduating from Macomb High School attended Western Illinois University.  He began his career in sports, at WIU he was a sports anchor on WWIR-TV and the color commentator for the Leatherneck football. His first paying job was in Quincy at WGME-TV and then in Rockford at WREX-TV. After a few years in Rockford as the weekend sports anchor at WREX-TV he moved to Springfield. Bridge worked at WICS-TV for nearly 5 years, leaving the station as the sports director. 
Bridge’s wife Dina also works in radio, the two have a pair of boys and they live near Rochester.

How to Determine Nitrogen Rate Adjustments for Next Year

A terribly dry season has producers facing low yields at harvest and uncertainty about nitrogen rate adjustments for the 2013 corn crop. University of Illinois Assistant Professor of Crop Sciences, Fabian Fernandez, states as a general rule corn following soybean needs less nitrogen.

The quantity and quality of soybean residue reduces the amount of immobilization and increases the amount of nitrogen mineralization from crop residue and the soil. In areas affected by the drought nitrogen take up was reduced, leaving large amounts left in the field. Fernandez says it can be difficult to estimate the amount of nitrogen left in the field. He suggests farmers measure soil nitrate levels. To do so, farmers should collect 12 soil core samples from throughout a field at a depth of two to three feet. According to Fernandez, the two foot depth should be adequate where little nitrate movement is expected, while the three-foot depth is appropriate where rain may have moved the nutrient deeper.

A Corn Nitrogen Rate Calculator can be used to calculate the maximum return to nitrogen. To access the calculator visit
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Apples Survive the Frost

It was cold overnight and a freeze warning has been issued again for central Illinois tonight and into Thursday morning. The overnight lows coming up do look to be three to four degrees warmer than last night. Did that freeze have any ill effects on specialty crop growers in the area? Gail Johnson is the owner of the Apple Barn. I talked with her early this morning and checked in on how things south of town came through the night.

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USDA April Report

USDA cuts soybean, wheat supply, leaves corn unchanged

USDA has tightened domestic ending stocks projections for soybeans and wheat, while leaving corn unchanged.

Corn ending stocks were left steady with last month at 801 million bushels with no changes to the balance sheet. Before the report, analysts were expecting a sizable decrease but the supply is still considerably below last year's level. The average farm price for corn is estimated at $6 to $6.40 per bushel. Mike Krueger, of the Money Farm, shared his thoughts from the the Minneapolis Grain Exchange.

Also, USDA lowered its Argentine corn production estimate a half million tons to 21.5 million and cut beans 1.5 million tons to 45 million, while leaving Brazil corn unchanged at 62 million tons and lowering soybeans 2.5 million tons to 66 million.

Soybean ending stocks were reported at 250 million bushels, down 25 million from a month ago but up 35 million from a year ago. USDA raised the crush and export estimates as expected while making modest cuts to the seed and residual use categories. The average farm price for soybeans is estimated at $12 to $12.50 per bushel.
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Illinois Ag Legislative Day

So what are the issues at the 42nd Legislative Day? The Illinois Farm Bureau Executive Director of Governmental Affairs Mark Gebhards says property rights are being pushed to the forefront.

The Lt. Governor Shelia Simon addressed the attendees after the breakfast that was held in the hall of Flags in the Hawlett Building. Simon the only constitutional officer from downstate Illinois says she understands being looked at to be the voice of agriculture and rural Illinois. She says if more people understood how much Ag contributed there would be better an understanding from all groups.

Chris Steppig, the State FFA Reporter, say the day is a perfect time for members of the FFA to practice public speaking and engage in the public process of lawmaking.

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Ag Leader adds in field crop testing

The spread of technology on the farm continues at a rapid pace. Ag Leader Technology is taking a step from the cab of tractors and combines directly into the field. They released OpTrx a crop sensing technology that can determine on the go nitrogen map in a corn field. Josh Rasmussen says this technology can come save money in a field when side dressing anhydrous.

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