A roundup of agricultural news in around East Central Illinois:
SPRINGFIELD — Prairie Fruits Farm & Creamery, Champaign, on Tuesday was named one of the Illinois Agriculture Agri-Tourism Leaders for the Year by state Comptroller Judy Baar Topinka.
Prairie Fruits is a farmstead cheese-making facility and an "animal welfare approved" goat dairy. It offers goat cheese and goat milk gelato as well as organic fruits.
During the summer, patrons can visit the farm during open houses on Wednesday afternoons. The farm offers tours for schools and professional organizations. It also offers "dinners on the farm," giving diners the opportunity to eat locally grown and sustainable ingredients.
Leslie Cooperband, owner of Prairie Fruits Farm, said the award "celebrates the kind of agriculture that we practice — sustainable, diversified and value-added."
Crops in good shape, but behind other years
SPRINGFIELD — Illinois corn and soybean crops are generally in good shape but developing later than in most recent years, the Illinois office of the National Agricultural Statistics Service reported.
As of Sunday, 20 percent of the state's corn crop was rated excellent, while 48 percent was good, 25 percent fair, 5 percent poor and 2 percent very poor.
For soybeans, 16 percent were deemed excellent, 54 percent good, 23 percent fair, 5 percent poor and 2 percent very poor.
"Field crops continue to develop behind the five-year average," the service reported. Moisture levels weren't as favorable as they were a few weeks ago.
Statewide, 59 percent of the topsoil had adequate moisture, 39 percent was short or very short and 2 percent had surplus moisture.
About 69 percent of the subsoil had adequate moisture, 30 percent was short or very short and 1 percent had surplus moisture.
Topsoil moisture in the state's eastern region, which includes Champaign-Urbana, Danville and Kankakee, closely paralleled the state figures. But the region's subsoil was a little drier than the state averages.
Economist crunches crop production report
URBANA — The U.S. Department of Agriculture is forecasting slightly smaller corn and soybean crops this year than experts had projected, University of Illinois agricultural economist Darrel Good said.
The August crop production report projected a corn crop about 1.75 percent smaller than what the industry projected and a soybean crop about 2.5 percent smaller than the average trade guess.
Projected corn and soybean yields in Illinois were also smaller than expected, Good said. The government is projecting an average yield in Illinois of 165 bushels an acre for corn and 47 bushels an acre for soybeans.
The average yield nationally is expected to be 154.4 bushels for corn and 42.6 bushels for soybeans.
Good said that for corn, the average farm price for the marketing year is projected in a range of $4.50 to $5.30 a bushel — 10 cents higher than July's projection.
For soybeans, the average farm price for the marketing year is projected in a range of $10.35 to $12.35 a bushel — 60 cents above the July projection.