A roundup of agriculture news
URBANA — University of Illinois agricultural economist Darrel Good said planting projections recently released by the U.S. Department of Agriculture could signal a slight drop in corn prices and a sharp drop in soybean prices.
The department said U.S. farmers plan to plant about 91.69 million acres of corn this year, down 3.67 million acres from what was planted last year.
Farmers intend to plant about 81.49 million acres of soybeans, up 4.96 million acres from last year.
If corn yields follow trends, that would result in a small buildup of inventories, Good said. Consequently, the average corn price next year "might be only slightly less than the average of $4.50 (per bushel) projected for the current year."
If soybean yields follow trends, inventories would likely exceed 300 million bushels by the end of the 2014-15 marketing year, Good said. That "suggests that the average soybean price next year will be sharply lower than the average of $12.95 (per bushel) projected for the current year," he added.
Two 'Farm Dreams' workshops scheduled
CHAMPAIGN — Two workshops for people interested in starting their own farm businesses have been scheduled in Urbana and Danville.
The Land Connection, a nonprofit group that trains sustainable and organic farmers, has scheduled the workshops for:
— 6 to 9 p.m. Monday in the Flatlander Classroom of Common Ground Food Co-op at Lincoln Square, 300 S. Broadway Ave., U.
— 6 to 9 p.m. June 2 at the Danville Public Library, 319 N. Vermilion St., Danville.
The workshops are designed to help people decide whether farming is right for them through an assessment of resources and finances and some goal-setting.
The sessions will also examine entrepreneurial farming in central Illinois and give an overview of crop and marketing options for farm and food start-ups.
A light supper featuring local breads, cheeses and vegetables is included in the $20 registration fee.
To find out more or register, call The Land Connection at 840-2128, or read about the workshops at thelandconnection.org.
Additional workshops are scheduled April 21 in Effingham, May 5 in Kankakee and July 7 in Peoria.
Average yields for area corn, soybeans released
SPRINGFIELD — Average corn yields for counties in East Central Illinois ranged from 164 to 189 bushels last year, according to estimates released by the National Agricultural Statistics Service.
Meanwhile, average soybean yields for area counties ranged from 47 bushels to 57 bushels.
The top corn yield among area counties was 188.6 bushels in McLean County, while the low yield was 164 bushels in Ford County. Champaign's average yield was 168.1 bushels, while Vermilion County's was 176.9 bushels.
The top soybean yield among area counties was 57.1 bushels in Piatt County, while the low yield was 47.7 bushels in Ford County. Champaign's average yield was 52.6 bushels, while Vermilion County's was 53.1 bushels.
Grants available for growing specialty crops
SPRINGFIELD — The Illinois Department of Agriculture is accepting proposals from those interested in receiving federal grant money for growing specialty crops.
Illinois has been receiving about $600,000 a year in federal specialty crop grants and has been using the money to open new markets for Illinois-grown produce.
Specialty crops are defined by the U.S. Agricultural Marketing Service as "fruits, vegetables, tree nuts, dried fruits and horticulture and nursery crops."
The state agriculture department will accept grant proposals until 4 p.m. May 1. Information is available at the department's website, agr.state.il.us or by calling Delayne Reeves at 524-9129.
Recent bean crop had higher protein, oil levels
ST. LOUIS — The average protein and oil levels in the 2013 U.S. soybean crop were higher than the previous crop, the United Soybean Board reported, citing results of a crop-quality survey.
Average oil levels rose to 19 percent, up from 18.5 percent in 2012, while average protein levels increased from 34.3 percent to 34.7 percent.Those levels are important to the animal agriculture sector, the biggest customer for soybeans.
"The animal agriculture sector uses protein to feed animals, and the food industry uses the majority of soybean oil for human consumption and the rest for industrial-like biodiesel," said Laura Foell, chair of the board's Meal Action Team.
The study found less regional variation in protein and oil levels in 2013 than in previous years.