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.
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.
Grazing has become a new old thing in the cattle industry. Dean Oswald forage and grazing specialist for Midwest Grass and Forage in Macomb. Oswald has a background for more than 30 years in forage with the University of Illinois Extension. Oswald says the first thing will he will be talking to cattlemen about is getting the most out of their pastures, it includes new management practices, adding to the grass mix in the pasture and keeping up with the latest technology.
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.
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.
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.