Illinois' corn harvest nearly 75 percent done
SPRINGFIELD — The Illinois corn harvest is proceeding much faster than usual, with 71 percent of the harvest complete as of Sunday, the Illinois Department of Agriculture reported.
At this time last year, only 29 percent of the corn statewide had been harvested. The five-year average for this point in time is 33 percent.
The soybean harvest is progressing at the normal pace. About 22 percent of the crop was in as of Sunday. The five-year average for this point is 21 percent.
Observers said 2 percent of the soybean crop is excellent, 20 percent is good, 37 percent is fair, 24 percent is poor and 17 percent is very poor.
In the state's eastern region, which includes the Champaign-Urbana and Danville areas, 67 percent of the topsoil had adequate moisture, 29 percent was short and 4 percent was very short.
However, only 25 percent of the subsoil had adequate moisture. Forty-four percent was short and 31 percent was very short.
Federal program netted close to $634,000 for state
SPRINGFIELD — Illinois has received nearly $634,000 from the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Specialty Crop Block Grant Program.
The state Department of Agriculture will split that money among 12 projects — including one at the University of Illinois — intended to expand the availability of locally grown produce.
Illinois is the nation's largest producer of pumpkins and horseradish and ranks among the top 10 states in the production of asparagus, cauliflower, green peas and lima beans.
The UI project aims to enhance food safety by assessing the microbial profiles on produce from farmers' markets and recommending handling practices that minimize the risk of microbial contamination.
Among the other projects:
— Working with the Illinois Horseradish Growers Association to identify new varieties that are whiter, larger and last longer than current varieties without sacrificing flavor.
— Working with the Illinois Stewardship Alliance to create a marketing campaign to promote local specialty crops to local restaurants.
— Working with the Illinois Grape Growers and Vintners Association to teach best management practices to Illinois grape growers.
Open house set Wednesday for 320-acre Energy Farm
URBANA — The Energy Biosciences Institute at the University of Illinois has scheduled an open house at its 320-acre Energy Farm for 8:30 to 11:30 a.m. Wednesday.
The farm is at 4301 S. Philo Road, U.
Those attending can see large-scale, field-based research; learn about advances in harvesting and storing biofuel feedstock; hear presentations on agronomy, biofuels law, ecology, engineering and entomology; and talk with scientists developing best practices for crop management.