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Beef and pork’s role in filling the supply gap

Published August 29, 2016

URBANA, Ill. – Producers of beef and pork have been discouraged about recent low prices as cash prices have dropped sharply this year. According to a Purdue University Extension economist, spring finished cattle price highs were near $138 per live hundredweight, but last week fell to $115, a $23 plunge. And the story is story is similar for hogs. After seeing yearly highs at $81 for a national lean price in the third week of June, prices have dropped $20, or 25 percent, in the past two months.

“Stepping back to take a longer view, finished cattle prices have been dropping since late 2014 when they reached record highs around $173,” says Chris Hurt. “From $173 to $115 means, finished cattle prices have now dropped 34 percent. It is the same story for hogs, but with even bigger declines. The drop from the $130 record in 2014 to $61 today is a 53 percent reduction.

“It’s not hard to identify reasons for wild swings in prices over the past 10 years as these industries have been forced to adjust to large economic shocks,” Hurt explains. “The severe multi-year drought in the Southern Plains was one of those shocks for the beef sector. The other was the period of surging feed prices starting in the fall of 2006 and continuing to mid-year 2013.”

What is the supply gap?

“Drought in cattle country and high feed prices caused economic losses that forced supplies downward,” Hurt continues. “As a result, the supply of beef, pork, chicken, and turkey dropped from 220 pounds per person in 2007 to just 201 pounds by 2014, creating a 19-pound supply gap. Low available supplies in 2014 brought record-high prices for cattle, hogs, and chickens. Turkey prices moved even higher in 2015 because of additional lost production due to avian influenza.”

Hurt says the highest animal prices were in 2014 and 2015, at the same time feed prices began to moderate with the large 2013 and 2014 crops. High animal prices and lower feed prices meant record profitability.

“Record profitability was the signal producers needed to start expansion, and they will likely continue on that path for several more years,” Hurt says.

Thus, the meat industries are now in the process of filling the supply gap. Current USDA forecasts for 2017 are that U.S. per capita meat supplies will be back up to 216 pounds.

“That’s a burst of 15 added pounds since the 2014 low of just 201 pounds and just four pounds short of the record consumption in 2007, which was based on the era of $2 per bushel corn,” Hurt says.

According to Hurt, supply adjustments have been different for the pork and the beef sectors. Reduction in pork consumption per person was four pounds from 2007 to 2014. By 2017, pork will have recovered all of that reduction and be back up to 2007 per capita supplies. Pork will fill its supply gap.

“The pattern is much different for the beef sector that experienced more trauma and cannot increase production as quickly as poultry and pork,” Hurt says. “From 2007 to 2014 beef availability dropped by 11 pounds per capita and in 2017 is expected to still be about 10 pounds below 2007 levels. This means beef has only made a small step toward filling the supply gap.” 

Hurt lists three important implications:

  • First, the beef sector has been retaining females and this means that the size of the calf crops will be increasing over the next two years and per capita beef supplies will likely increase for two to three years.
  • Second, the chicken industry has already filled its supply gap and more as 2017 per capita chicken supplies are expected to be six pounds more than supplies in 2007.
  • Third, it is increasingly looking like the meat and poultry industries will totally fill the supply gap in the next three years with per capita meat and poultry supplies returning to near the 2007 record of 220 pounds. However, beef is not likely to reach its 2007 levels, with chicken taking most of that market share.

“A critical factor in a continued increase in per capita meat supplies will be moderate feed prices,” Hurt says. The potential record 2016 corn and soybean crops suggests that corn, soybean meal, and forage prices over the next 12 months will be some of the lowest of the past decade. This is likely to stimulate somewhat more meat production for 2017 than the USDA forecasts used here.

Why are animal prices moving lower?

“The big picture answer is that the animal industries are rebuilding per capita supplies because of lower feed prices and restocking brood cows in the Southern Plains,” Hurt says. “It seems likely that the meat industry will fill the supply gap that was created from 2007 to 2014. The meat industries are expected to continue to increase supplies until animal product prices drop to levels that approach breakeven levels.”


New corn disease identified in DeKalb County

Published August 26, 2016
bacterial leaf streak
Foliar symptoms of bacterial leaf streak showing long lesions with wavy margins and halo visible with backlighting. Photo courtesy of Scott Schirmer Illinois Department of Agriculture, State Plant Regulatory Official.

URBANA, Ill. One positive sample of bacterial leaf streak was found in a corn field in DeKalb County, Illinois, its identification verified yesterday by the USDA. With this presence in Illinois, bacterial leaf streak has been identified in 9 states:  Colorado, Iowa, Illinois, Kansas, Minnesota, Nebraska, Oklahoma, South Dakota, and Texas.  DeKalb is the only county in Illinois that has been verified to have the disease. 

“Because this is a bacterial disease, fungicides cannot be expected to control or suppress it,” says Suzanne Bissonnette, University of Illinois plant clinic director and assistant dean for agriculture and natural resources with U of I Extension.

U of I Extension commercial agriculture educator Dennis Bowman adds, “Crop rotation and tillage are the best short-term management strategies if the disease is present in a field.” 

Bissonnette says if growers suspect bacterial leaf streak in their field, they can submit a sample to the U of I Plant Clinic.

“We’d like to get a comprehensive idea of distribution in the state,” Bissonnette says. “Although there are currently no known methods to prevent it, differences in varietal susceptibility may point the way to sources of resistance.”

Bacterial leaf streak is caused by the pathogen Xanthomonas vasicola pv. vasculorum. The disease causes the formation of linear lesions between the veins on a corn leaf. The lesions look similar to gray leaf spot symptoms – although GLS lesions tend to be shorter, more rectangular, and to stay within their veinal borders.

“Bacterial leaf streak lesions are more irregular, often thinner and longer,  will ‘bleed’ over the veinal border, and may have a halo when held up to the light,” Bowman explains.

In many Great Plains states where the disease has been found, symptoms first appear on the lower leaves and infection progresses up the plant. Typically these fields have been under pivot irrigation.  Later infections may occur and show up primarily in the upper canopy. This was the case for the positive DeKalb County sample found in the survey of approximately 340 randomly selected fields in transects across 68 of Illinois’s 102 counties. The survey was conducted by APHIS-PPQ (Animal Plant Health Inspection Service), IDA (Illinois Department of Agriculture), CAPS (Illinois Natural History Survey’s Cooperative Agricultural Pest Survey) and U of I Extension.

Bissonnette says there is currently very little known about this disease. Further research is needed to develop a complete understanding of this disease, its impact, and strategies for long term management.  However, APHIS notes it is not believed to present a health risk to people or animals.

For information about the biology, symptoms, or management of Xvv, visit or





Geiger family honored for 50 years of 4-H membership

Published August 25, 2016
The 4-H Spirit Family Award goes to the Joseph and Ida Geiger family. The Geigers have had a family member in 4-H for 50 consecutive years.

URBANA, Ill. - Since 1965, there has been a descendant of the Joseph and Ida Geiger family in 4-H. This achievement was recognized Saturday, Aug. 20 at the Illinois State Fairgrounds when the Illinois 4-H Foundation honored the Madison County family with the Illinois 4-H Family Spirit Award.

In that 50 years of consecutive membership, there have been 62 family members and spouses with 4-H affiliation for a total of 411 years of 4-H membership. Nine of the family members have served as 4-H club leaders, totaling 123 years.

The Illinois 4-H Foundation created the Illinois 4-H Family Spirit Award in 2002 to annually recognize an Illinois family who has substantially benefited from and who has been an advocate for the Illinois 4-H program over multiple generations.

“There is no doubt as to this family’s involvement, passion, and dedication for 4-H,” said Barbara Rundquist Clark, past chair of the Illinois 4-H Foundation Board of Directors. The many accomplishments include over 50 project areas of study and exhibition, 4-H camps, leadership conferences and National 4-H Congress Award trips, Clark said, as well as serving as host for a Japanese 4-H exchange student.

“Each family member has their own special memories of how 4-H benefitted them, be that developing a hobby, choosing a profession, serving as a community leader, or even in finding a spouse,” Clark said. “As diverse as each of these accounts are, there were two commonalities which run through each of their stories; 4-H was fun, and the skills learned during their years in 4-H are still used daily.”

In accepting the award, family spokesman Margaret Weis said the award application process was a “trip down memory lane, reminding us of our cherished 4-H days.”

4-H softball games hold a special fondness for the family, Weis said. In the mid-1940s, Joseph and Ida Geiger donated land which became a practice field for 4-H youth of Highland where fathers of the members would coach and practice in what once was a cattle pasture.

“I do not think my grandfather realized that patch of dirt was actually a stage where character and dreams were created,” Weis said. “Simply put 4-H prepared us for life.”

The Illinois 4-H Foundation’s mission is to build relationship to generate financial resources for Illinois 4-H. Funding from individual donors, our Illinois 4-H Project Partners, companies, and friends of Illinois 4-H help the Foundation support statewide programming initiatives along with scholarships, assistance to National events, grant opportunities, Teens as Teachers and assists us in filling funding gaps.


About 4-H: Illinois 4-H strives to help youth learn skills for living. University of Illinois Extension provides 4-H programs in every county in Illinois. Illinois 4-H aims to impact the lives of 200,000 youth each year through sustained learning clubs and groups and short-term programming.

About Illinois 4-H Foundation: The Illinois 4-H Foundation’s mission is to build relationship to generate financial resources for Illinois 4-H. Funding from individual donors, our Illinois 4-H Project Partners, companies, and friends of Illinois 4-H help the Foundation support statewide programming initiatives along with scholarships, assistance to National events, grant opportunities, Teens as Teachers and assists us in filling funding gaps.

News Source:

Angie Barnard, 217-333-9295

Workshop and field day will raise awareness of local grains and local markets

Published August 25, 2016

URBANA, Ill. - The potential for regionally adapted grains to serve growing local and regional markets is the topic of an upcoming workshop at the University of Illinois. Illinois Extension, along with the departments of Natural Resources and Environmental Sciences, Crop Sciences, and Food Science and Human Nutrition will host “Illinois Local Grains and Local Markets” on Sept. 9 in the Monsanto Room of the ACES Library, Information and Alumni Center.

The workshop runs from 8:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m., with presentations starting at 8:30 a.m. Speakers include Bill Davison from Illinois Extension, Allison Krill-Brown from the Department of Crop Sciences, Harold Wilken from Janie’s Farm, Frank Kutka from the Northern Plains Sustainable Agriculture Society, and Julie Dawson from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

Presentations by Kutka and Dawson will showcase participatory breeding efforts taking place in other regions. This event will be of interest to researchers, breeders in the region, bakers, and brewers who want to source locally produced grains, and farmers interested in conducting trials.

Kutka is a plant breeder and the co-coordinator of the Northern Plains Sustainable Agriculture Society Farm Breeding Club. In his current work, he is developing a yellow dent corn that has the ability to prevent cross-pollination with GMO corn. This work builds on approximately 20 years of experience with corn breeding for the organic farming sector.

Dawson is an assistant professor of horticulture at the University of Wisconsin. Dawson’s background is in organic wheat breeding and participatory research. She has conducted research on value-added grains for regional food systems at Cornell University, and she helped create a participatory wheat breeding program with an association of organic farmer-bakers in France.

A field day will be held on Sept. 10 at Janie’s Farm in Danforth, Illinois. Presentations will be given by Harold and Ross Wilken on their experience with on-farm selection and milling at Janie’s Farm. Fred Kolb and Allison Krill-Brown will speak on U of I efforts to develop wheat varieties suitable for Illinois. A discussion on participatory crop breeding will be led by Frank Kutka.

Lunch will be prepared by chefs from Hendrick House Catering with foods made from locally sourced grains. The cost is $12 for pre-registered participants. A limited number of lunches will be available for $15 for on-site participants.

The Agroecology and Sustainable Agriculture Program at the University of Illinois, and the Illinois Organic Growers Association are also co-sponsors for these events. For more information about the workshop, contact Carmen Ugarte at or Bill Davison at You may consider participating in one or both events; registration is required for the field day.


News Source:

Carmen Ugarte

News Writer:

Leanne Lucas, 217-244-9085

Illinois young beef producers win scholarships

Published August 24, 2016
L to R- Travis Meteer, U of I Beef Extension Educator , Lindsey Decker of Philo, Devan White of Iuka, Eric Schafer of Owaneco, Lucas Wisnefski of Wyoming, and Easton Beard of Dahinda.

URBANA, Ill. - Five youth from across Illinois were each awarded $1,000 scholarships at the 2016 Illinois Superior Young Beef Producers contest. The contest, sponsored by Archer Daniels Midland of Decatur and the Illinois State Fair, was held on August 10th in conjunction with the Illinois State Fair. Twenty 4-H and FFA members from Illinois competed in this three-phase competition challenging their knowledge of beef production.

The scholarships, presented to the highest-scoring individuals overall, went to Lindsey Decker of Philo, Devan White of Iuka, Eric Schafer of Owaneco, Lucas Wisnefski of Wyoming, and Easton Beard of Dahinda. The Land of Lincoln Purebred Livestock Breeders Association supplied the individual plaques presented to the scholarship and phase winners.

In the beef management test, Decker, White and Schafer sorted themselves to the top and received plaques for their achievements. In the skill-a-thon phase, Wisnefski and Schafer received honors. White took home the top spot. In the judging competition, Blake Hennefent of Gilson, Wisnefski, and Easton Beard made up the top three.

Travis Meteer, University of Illinois Beef Extension Educator, said, “This contest allows young producers to showcase their knowledge of the beef industry and provides them with assistance through scholarships to pursue further educational opportunities.”  

This year marked the 18th consecutive year for the Superior Young Beef Producers contest which has provided participating youth the opportunity to compete for $95,000 in college scholarships since its inception. The purpose of the contest is to create an educational activity that promotes youth development, career development, and personal growth through increased knowledge of the beef industry.

News Source:

Travis Meteer, 217-236-4961

News Writer:

Leanne Lucas, 217-244-9085