The number of registered Illinois beekeepers has climbed by nearly 700, boosting the total to more than 2,500.
A roundup of agriculture news:
SPRINGFIELD — There's a buzz about beekeeping this year.
The number of registered Illinois beekeepers has climbed by nearly 700, boosting the total to more than 2,500, the Illinois Department of Agriculture recently reported.
That development could be important to fruit and vegetable growers.
"Honeybees are critical to the pollination of Illinois' nation-leading pumpkin crop, as well as many other fruits and vegetable," Illinois Agriculture Director Bob Flider said in a release. "In fact, they pollinate about a third of all food-producing plants."
In recent years, the honeybee population has dwindled as pests and diseases have taken a toll on wild honeybees.
That has greatly increased the need for domestic apiaries, the department said. Many specialty crop growers now hire beekeepers to pollinate their crops.
The state's beekeepers manage more than 24,000 colonies, and apiary inspectors periodically check the colonies for pests and diseases.
Farm Economics Summit set Dec. 16 in Champaign
CHAMPAIGN — Commodity prices, farm policy and the financial outlook for 2014 are among the topics to be discussed at the 2013 Illinois Farm Economics Summit, set for Dec. 16 in Champaign.
The annual summit, which features presentations by University of Illinois agriculture professors and Extension specialists, will be offered at five locations around the state, beginning with the Dec. 16 session at the I Hotel and Conference Center in Champaign.
The summit — designed for farm operators and owners, agricultural lenders, and agribusinesses — will begin at 7:45 a.m. and conclude at 1:10 p.m., after lunch. It will be repeated on successive days that week in Sycamore, Galesburg, Mount Vernon and Bloomington.
The registration fee is $65 through Dec. 9, $75 at the door. Information on the event is available at http://www.farm  docdaily.illinois.edu/2013IFES; online registration is at http://www.regonline.com/2013IFES .
State corn, soybean harvests almost complete
SPRINGFIELD — Nearly all the Illinois corn and soybean crops have been harvested, according to data released this week by the state office of the National Agricultural Statistics Service.
The agency said 93 percent of corn and 97 percent of soybeans had been harvested as of Sunday. Both were running ahead of the five-year average of crops harvested by that date.
In the state's Eastern region, which includes Champaign-Urbana, Danville and Kankakee, 98 percent of corn and 99 percent of soybeans had been harvested.
As of this week, 98 percent of the state's winter wheat crop had been planted and 77 percent had emerged.