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Planting a fall vegetable garden

Published August 4, 2016

URBANA, Ill. - Planting a vegetable garden doesn’t just happen in the spring. “Many of the vegetables that we grow in the spring can be planted in late summer or early fall,” says University of Illinois Extension horticulture educator Ken Johnson. 

“By the time summer rolls around many of our cool-season plants that were planted in the spring are past their prime,” says Johnson. “They become tough and bitter and will often bolt, like radishes and spinach. By planting these cool-season crops again, you can extend your gardening season and have fresh produce longer.” 

Johnson says there are several other advantages to planting a fall vegetable garden.

“There are often fewer pest and weed problems in the fall compared to the spring. Many vegetables have better quality when they are grown in the fall.  Some vegetables develop better flavor when grown in the fall, particularly after they have gone through a frost. Fall gardens often require less time and labor because the soil has already been worked in the spring.” 

According to Johnson, vegetables that are typically grown in a fall vegetable garden fall into the semi-hardy and hardy categories. Semi-hardy plants, such as beets, carrots, cauliflower, and lettuce can tolerate light frosts as low as 32 degrees F.  Hardy plants, such as broccoli, cabbage, radishes, and spinach can tolerate hard frosts down to 28 degrees F.  

“To determine when you should plant your vegetables, you need to determine when your first frost usually occurs,” Johnson says. “For central Illinois it is generally mid-October.  Start with that date and count backwards for the number of days it takes the crop to mature. It’s wise to add a week or two for the fall factor because temperatures are getting cooler. Development slows compared to spring when temperatures get warmer.”

Most of the vegetables grown in the fall vegetable garden, Johnson says, can be directly seeded in the garden. Some vegetables, like broccoli and cauliflower, are best done as transplants. “Unfortunately, transplants are not easy to find in the summer for these plants, so to make your own, start the seed indoors 6 to 8 weeks before you want to plant them in the garden.”

Before planting a fall garden, Johnsons says to clean it. “Remove any crop residues from previous crops and pull any weeds that may be present. Soil can also be tilled and 1 to 1 ½ pounds of an all-purpose fertilizer (per 100 square feet) or composted organic matter can be incorporated. When planting seeds, follow the directions on the seed packets. Make sure to keep the soil moist until the seeds have germinated. Because the seeds are being planted at the end of summer, the soil moisture will need to be monitored closely.”

According to Johnson, a light covering of mulch or even a board can be placed over the seeds to help retain moisture in the soil. If using a board, he says to remove it after the seeds germinate. “Checking the seed packet will give you an idea of how many days it will take for the seeds to germinate. Make sure to check under the board frequently for sprouting seeds. It’s helpful to provide some shade to seedlings in the afternoon while the temperatures are still high and the plants have yet to become well established. After your plants have become established, the maintenance is just like any other garden.  Make sure to control weeds and pests if necessary, and water when needed.”

News Source:

Ken Johnson, 217-243-7424

News Writer:

University of Illinois Extension

Late-blooming beauties

Published August 3, 2016

URBANA, Ill. - Just as most flowers are frying or fading, late-blooming perennials take off and steal the show, says Sandra Mason, a University of Illinois Extension horticulture educator.

Mason shares a few late-blooming beauties to create a fantastic fall flower garden.

Fall anemones, which include an array of species (Anemone hupehensis, A. x hybrida, A. tomentosa, and A. vitifolia) are reliable late bloomers, according to Mason. Some start blooming in July and continue to bloom into November. Fall anemones prefer moist well-drained soils in a garden shaded from late-afternoon sun. They can take full sun if given plenty of moisture.

Anemones have dark green leaves with two to three inch in diameter flowers held high on delicate wiry stems. Colors range from pure white to pink or purple. Flowers may be single to semi-double or double-petaled. The cultivar Margarete has semi-double flowers of striking pink with yellow centers. At three feet tall, it’s an amiable choice for backgrounds.

The 150-year-old cultivar Honorine Jobert has white single-petaled flowers offering a stunning contrast to the dark green leaves. September Charm has single rose-pink flowers. Robustissima, with mauve-pink flowers, can be too robust in a shady garden. It’s best in full sun where it’s not so vigorous.

Max Vogel and Serenade anemones possess similar pink flowers with yellow, globe-like centers. Both selections have bloom periods of more than two months. Their vigorous growth and strong stalks make them less susceptible to flopping. Max Vogel is about three to four feet tall with an upright, clumped habit. Serenade, at 24 inches tall, could be a good choice as a ground cover.

Asters come in a wide range of colors from white to varying shades of blue, pink, and purple in sizes from two to four feet tall, so do your homework to find the one with your desired characteristics. New England aster is the quintessential late bloomer. Late summer into fall it shows off its myriad of pink to purple flowers, often adorned with butterflies sipping nectar shoulder-to-shoulder as they enjoy each daisy-type flower.

Many asters are native to North America. Most asters prefer full sun and may need a good pinch or shearing of the stems in June to keep plants from getting too lanky. Purple Dome aster has a particularly tidy rounded habit with deep purple flowers. 

A few lesser known asters include Heath aster and Calico aster. Heath aster (Aster ericoides) has numerous tiny white, pink or blue flowers similar to baby’s breath on three-foot tall plants.

The Calico aster (Aster lateriflorus var. horizontalis) is almost a shrub. The small white flowers with red centers are borne on many horizontal stems for a stunning midnight show.

The deep yellow flowers of Goldenrods are a sure sign of late summer. One of my favorites is Fireworks (Solidago rugose). As its name implies, the plant erupts into fireworks with tiny sunny yellow flowers on wiry arching stems. It has a shrub-like appearance with its sturdy stems and tight crown.

Many sedums show off in late summer when butterflies appreciate the buffet of pink flowers. Autumn Joy sedum is still a good choice even though it is as common as a porch light. As with many of the late-blooming sedums, Autumn Joy is a very useable height at 12 to 24 inches. Matrona and Maestro are also great cultivars. From early spring to late winter, sedums have an appealing aspect, in bloom or not. 

News Writer:

University of Illinois Extension

Corn and soybeans in the home stretch

Published August 1, 2016

URBANA, Ill. - The final month of the 2015-2016 corn and soybean marketing year is under way, with use during the next four weeks to determine the magnitude of year-ending stocks. Darrel Good, University of Illinois agricultural economist, says the 2016 growing season for those two crops is also entering the final stages, with weather over the next six weeks influencing the final yield outcome.

“For soybeans, it appears that exports during the current marketing year may exceed the current USDA forecast of 1.795 billion bushels,” Good says. “With just under five weeks remaining in the year, exports need to average only 6.6 million bushels per week to reach the projected level.”

Unshipped export sales as of July 21 stood at 236 million bushels and export inspections for the two weeks that ended July 28 averaged 25.5 million bushels per week. USDA estimates of the domestic soybean crush are available through May. The June estimate will be released today, although the NOPA estimate for June has already been released. According to Good, cumulative marketing-year crush estimates suggest that the crush during the final two months of the year needs to total about 300 million bushels in order for the marketing-year total to reach the USDA crush projection of 1.89 billion bushels. The 300 million bushel requirement is about equal to the actual crush during the same two months last year. The crush in May 2016 was about 2.6 million bushels larger than in May 2015.

The USDA will release the estimate of 2015-16 marketing year-ending stocks (September 1) on September 30. “While the magnitude of both soybean exports and crush during the 2015-16 marketing year will be well known by that time,” Good says, “the market does not always correctly anticipate the year-ending stocks estimate. That estimate differed from the average trade guess by 20 million bushel or more in 10 of the previous 20 years and by more than 30 million bushels in four of those years. The largest difference was 61 million bushels in 2008.”

For corn, it appears that marketing-year exports will be just short of the USDA projection of 1.9 billion bushels. With just under five weeks remaining in the year, exports need to average 54.2 million bushels per week to reach the projected level. Unshipped export sales as of July 21 stood at 370 million bushels, but export inspections for the two weeks that ended July 28 averaged only 48.5 million bushels per week. The Census Bureau estimate of June exports will be released on August 5 and will provide further insight about the potential magnitude of marketing-year exports.   

The USDA’s estimate of corn used for ethanol and co-product production during the month of June will also be released today, Good says. Estimates through May, however, suggest that the marketing-year total may fall a bit short of the current USDA projection.

Both exports and domestic non-feed use of corn during the 2015-16 marketing year will be well known when the USDA releases the September 1 stocks estimate. “However, the magnitude of feed and residual use during the final quarter of the year will not be known,” Good notes, “but instead will be revealed by the stocks estimate. As a result, the September 1 stocks estimate has occasionally provided a surprise. That estimate has differed from the average trade guess by more than 100 million bushels in six of the past twenty years. The largest difference was 301 million bushels in 2010.”

The USDA’s first survey-based forecasts of the size of the 2016 U.S. corn and soybean crops will be released on August 12. Based on generally favorable weather so far this summer and exceptionally high crop condition ratings, that survey is expected to reveal prospects for very high U.S. average yields for both crops and record or near record large crops. 

Newswires will be releasing production estimates from various private analysts in the next few days. According to Good, those private analysts have not always correctly anticipated the USDA production forecast in August. The difference between the average trade guess for corn and the USDA forecast exceeded 250 million bushel in nine of the previous 20 years. The largest difference was 354 million bushels in 2015. For soybeans, the difference between the average trade guess and the USDA August forecast exceeded 50 million bushels in 11 of the previous 20 years and exceeded 100 million bushels in five of those years. The largest difference was 174 million bushels in 2015.

The USDA will release new corn and soybean production forecasts in September, October, and November with the final production estimates to be released in January 2017. “The final estimates of the U.S. average yield and production always deviate from the August forecast,” Good says. For corn the final yield estimate exceeded the August forecast in 11 of the previous 20 years; 12 of the previous 20 years for soybeans. For corn, the absolute difference between the final estimate and the August forecast exceeded three bushels in 12 of the 20 years and exceeded five bushels in six years. For soybeans the difference exceeded 1.5 bushels in nine of the 20 years and exceeded three bushels in five years. Estimates of planted acreage of corn and soybeans may also change, particularly in October, due to the availability of FSA planted acreage data.

“USDA production and stocks estimates occasionally provide surprises to the corn and soybean markets,” Good says. “Upcoming consumption estimates and production forecasts, however, would have to provide historically large surprises in one direction to alter expectations of a build-up of stocks of U.S. corn and soybeans during the year ahead.”

News Source:

Darrel Good, 217-333-4716

Corn and soybeans in the home stretch

Published August 1, 2016

URBANA, Ill. - The final month of the 2015-2016 corn and soybean marketing year is under way, with use during the next four weeks to determine the magnitude of year-ending stocks. Darrel Good, University of Illinois agricultural economist, says the 2016 growing season for those two crops is also entering the final stages, with weather over the next six weeks influencing the final yield outcome.

“For soybeans, it appears that exports during the current marketing year may exceed the current USDA forecast of 1.795 billion bushels,” Good says. “With just under five weeks remaining in the year, exports need to average only 6.6 million bushels per week to reach the projected level.”

Unshipped export sales as of July 21 stood at 236 million bushels and export inspections for the two weeks that ended July 28 averaged 25.5 million bushels per week. USDA estimates of the domestic soybean crush are available through May. The June estimate will be released today, although the NOPA estimate for June has already been released. According to Good, cumulative marketing-year crush estimates suggest that the crush during the final two months of the year needs to total about 300 million bushels in order for the marketing-year total to reach the USDA crush projection of 1.89 billion bushels. The 300 million bushel requirement is about equal to the actual crush during the same two months last year. The crush in May 2016 was about 2.6 million bushels larger than in May 2015.

The USDA will release the estimate of 2015-16 marketing year-ending stocks (September 1) on September 30. “While the magnitude of both soybean exports and crush during the 2015-16 marketing year will be well known by that time,” Good says, “the market does not always correctly anticipate the year-ending stocks estimate. That estimate differed from the average trade guess by 20 million bushel or more in 10 of the previous 20 years and by more than 30 million bushels in four of those years. The largest difference was 61 million bushels in 2008.”

For corn, it appears that marketing-year exports will be just short of the USDA projection of 1.9 billion bushels. With just under five weeks remaining in the year, exports need to average 54.2 million bushels per week to reach the projected level. Unshipped export sales as of July 21 stood at 370 million bushels, but export inspections for the two weeks that ended July 28 averaged only 48.5 million bushels per week. The Census Bureau estimate of June exports will be released on August 5 and will provide further insight about the potential magnitude of marketing-year exports.   

The USDA’s estimate of corn used for ethanol and co-product production during the month of June will also be released today, Good says. Estimates through May, however, suggest that the marketing-year total may fall a bit short of the current USDA projection.

Both exports and domestic non-feed use of corn during the 2015-16 marketing year will be well known when the USDA releases the September 1 stocks estimate. “However, the magnitude of feed and residual use during the final quarter of the year will not be known,” Good notes, “but instead will be revealed by the stocks estimate. As a result, the September 1 stocks estimate has occasionally provided a surprise. That estimate has differed from the average trade guess by more than 100 million bushels in six of the past twenty years. The largest difference was 301 million bushels in 2010.”

The USDA’s first survey-based forecasts of the size of the 2016 U.S. corn and soybean crops will be released on August 12. Based on generally favorable weather so far this summer and exceptionally high crop condition ratings, that survey is expected to reveal prospects for very high U.S. average yields for both crops and record or near record large crops. 

Newswires will be releasing production estimates from various private analysts in the next few days. According to Good, those private analysts have not always correctly anticipated the USDA production forecast in August. The difference between the average trade guess for corn and the USDA forecast exceeded 250 million bushel in nine of the previous 20 years. The largest difference was 354 million bushels in 2015. For soybeans, the difference between the average trade guess and the USDA August forecast exceeded 50 million bushels in 11 of the previous 20 years and exceeded 100 million bushels in five of those years. The largest difference was 174 million bushels in 2015.

The USDA will release new corn and soybean production forecasts in September, October, and November with the final production estimates to be released in January 2017. “The final estimates of the U.S. average yield and production always deviate from the August forecast,” Good says. For corn the final yield estimate exceeded the August forecast in 11 of the previous 20 years; 12 of the previous 20 years for soybeans. For corn, the absolute difference between the final estimate and the August forecast exceeded three bushels in 12 of the 20 years and exceeded five bushels in six years. For soybeans the difference exceeded 1.5 bushels in nine of the 20 years and exceeded three bushels in five years. Estimates of planted acreage of corn and soybeans may also change, particularly in October, due to the availability of FSA planted acreage data.

“USDA production and stocks estimates occasionally provide surprises to the corn and soybean markets,” Good says. “Upcoming consumption estimates and production forecasts, however, would have to provide historically large surprises in one direction to alter expectations of a build-up of stocks of U.S. corn and soybeans during the year ahead.”     

News Source:

Darrel Good, 217-333-4716

News Writer:

Leanne Lucas, 217-244-9085

Production area does not affect phosphorus digestibility in soybean meal fed to pigs

Published July 26, 2016

 

·         The chemical composition of soybean meal can be dependent on the area in which soybeans are grown.

·         Soybean meal from three different growing areas in the U.S. showed no statistical differences in concentrations of phosphorus.

·         An average value for apparent and standardized total tract digestibility may be used, regardless of the area in which soybeans are grown.

URBANA, Ill. – Research at the University of Illinois is helping to determine the effect of growing conditions on the nutritional value of soybean meal. "The digestibility of phosphorus is the same in soybean meal grown in various regions in the United States,” says Hans Stein, professor of animal sciences at Illinois.

"The chemical composition of soybean meal is somewhat dependent on the area in which soybeans are grown, but it was not known if there are differences in the concentration of phytate among soybeans grown in different areas," Stein says. He and Kelly Sotak-Peper, then a doctoral candidate, set out to determine whether any differences existed.

They sourced soybean meal from crushing plants in three different areas within the United States: the northern growing area (comprising Michigan, Minnesota, and South Dakota), eastern growing area (Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, and Ohio), and western growing area (Iowa, Missouri, and Nebraska).

They measured no statistically significant differences in concentrations of phosphorus, or in the percentage of phosphorus bound to phytate, among soybean meal from the different regions. There were also no differences in apparent total tract digestibility (ATTD) or standardized total tract digestibility (STTD) among pigs fed soybean meal from the three growing areas.

When microbial phytase was added to the diets to break down phytate, the ATTD and STTD of phosphorus for soybean meal from all growing areas increased by 24 and 22 percent, respectively.

"When you have ingredients that come from a wide variety of growing conditions, there's a risk that using book values for nutritional information will not give you accurate information for a given batch," says Stein. "What these data indicate is that an average value for ATTD and STTD of phosphorus may be used regardless of the area in which the soybeans are grown."

The research was supported by funding from the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture. Soybean meal was donated by AG Processing Inc., Omaha, NE; Archer Daniels Midland Company, Decatur, Ill; Bunge North America, St. Louis, Mo.; and Cargill Inc., Elk River, Minn.

The paper, "Effects of production area and microbial phytase on the apparent and standardized total tract digestibility of phosphorus in soybean meal fed to growing pigs," was published in the June 2016 issue of the Journal of Animal Science. The full text can be found at http://bit.ly/sbmarea.

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