A roundup of agricultural news:
CHAMPAIGN — Forty-one percent of the state's corn crop had been planted as of last week, according to the Illinois Department of Agriculture.
That was way ahead of the previous week, when only 17 percent had been planted.
In eastern Illinois, including the Champaign-Urbana and Danville areas, 50 percent of the corn crop had been planted, as had 1 percent of the soybean crop. Only about 4 percent of corn in this area had emerged.
"Frost conditions were reported in parts of the state, but the damage on wheat and emerged corn was mostly mild," the department said.
In eastern Illinois, 52 percent of topsoil had received adequate moisture, 43 percent was short on moisture and 5 percent was "very short."
Volunteer rainfall observers needed
URBANA — The Community Collaborative Rain, Hail and Snow Network is looking for additional volunteers in central Illinois to help measure precipitation.
"This is a great activity for anyone with an interest in the weather," said Illinois network coordinator Steve Hilberg. "We have volunteers of all ages and backgrounds providing this valuable information."
More than 500 observers across Illinois report daily rainfall and snow observations, supplementing observations made at airports and by National Weather Service cooperative observers.
An information and training session will be held at 6:30 p.m. Monday at the University of Illinois Extension office at 912 W. Seminary Ave., Onarga. Registration can be made at http://web.extension.illinois.edu/cfiv/ .
For more information about the collaborative network, visit http://www.cocorahs.org .
Agritourism tour planned in Vermilion County
DANVILLE — Area residents can get a sampling of agritourism attractions in Vermilion County during a May 5 tour sponsored by Extension programs at the University of Illinois and Purdue University.
Residents can also learn how "high tunnels" — sometimes known as "hoophouses" or unheated greenhouses — can be used to extend the growing season for produce.
The program begins at Strawberry Acres, 515 Poland Road near Danville at 9 a.m. Frank and Janet Butler will discuss their use of a high tunnel in growing strawberries from October to December.
Participants will then drive to Lingley Bros. Sweet Corn east of Rossville, where Toby and Paige Brown and their family produce snap beans, tomatoes, fruit trees, blackberries and sweet corn. The Browns use three high tunnels to grow tomatoes.
During a lunch stop at the Rossville firehouse, the group will meet with Erin Busscher of the Vermilion County Natural Resources Conservation Service to hear about the Environmental Quality Incentives Program's High Tunnel Initiative.
After lunch, the group will visit the Ludwig Farmstead Creamery near Fithian and learn about cheese-making from creamery manager Fons Smits.
The last stop will be Joe and Dawn Taylor's Sleepy Creek Vineyard south of Oakwood.
The $20 fee for the tour includes lunch. Illinois residents can call the UI Extension office, 333-7672 or 442-8615, to register for the tour.
Soybean association seeks district directors
BLOOMINGTON — Soybean growers interested in running for district director positions with the Illinois Soybean Association must file petitions by May 15.
The seat covering Champaign, Coles, Douglas, Edgar and Piatt counties is open this year. It's currently held by Wendel Lutz of Dewey, who is eligible to serve another three-year term in District 11.
The seat covering DeWitt, Moultrie, Shelby, Macon and Christian counties is also open this year. Incumbent District 10 director Dale Crawford of Sullivan is not eligible for re-election.
Petitions can be obtained from the association office in Bloomington, the Illinois Department of Agriculture and local University of Illinois Extension offices.
Petitions filed with the Illinois Director of Agriculture must contain signatures of at least 5 percent of soybean growers from the district. In District 11, 152 signatures are required, while in District 10, a total of 134 signatures are required.
Study monitors Illinois livestock production
BLOOMINGTON — When it comes to livestock production in Illinois, pork and poultry are showing the most growth in terms of output value, according to a study done for the Illinois Livestock Development Group.
Overall, the livestock industry is seeing "modest growth" in the value of products sold, when adjusted for inflation, a release from the organization stated.
Among the findings:
— Pork and poultry are growing in output value, after adjustments for inflation.
— The value of dairy output is flat and has actually declined if inflation is taken into account.
— Beef, sheep and lamb output has declined, before and after adjustments for inflation.
Clinton County produces the most livestock products of any county in Illinois, according to the study. An estimated 1,443 full-time workers are involved in livestock production there.
But Jasper County is tops when it comes to livestock production and processing as a percentage of a county's economic activity. The livestock industry accounts for 9.9 percent of all personal income generated in that county, the study said.