College of ACES
College News

Evidence of An Ear Infection

Published July 14, 2008
An archive of Pet Columns from the University of Illinois College of Veterinary Medicine is available online at www.cvm.uiuc.edu/petcolumns/. Requests for reprints of this article may be directed to Mandy Barth, mandyb@uiuc.edu.

They say that dogs have a better sense of smell than humans, but many veterinarians that have practiced long enough swear they can distinguish a bacterial from a yeast ear infection with a quick sniff. So don't think your vet is channeling his canine instincts when he flops over your pup's ears and takes a whiff.

Dr. Kaikhushroo Banajee is a small animal internal medicine and surgery intern at the University of Illinois Teaching Hospital in Urbana. He explains that typical signs owners should watch out for include, "scratching at the ears, rubbing, head shaking, and a foul smell." Animals may also seem depressed or have a lack of appetite, as do most kids with ear ailments.

However, that is not always the case. Especially if you own a breed, like Labradors, known for their ravenous appetite. Countless unsuspecting owners walk into their veterinarian's office for an annual exam, only to find that their tail-wagger has a bad ear infection. That's why you should routinely check your pet's hearing apparatuses: give them a quick flip over and a good sniff every once in a while.

If you suspect something is wrong, "it's extremely important to consult your veterinarian as early as possible," says Dr. Banajee. The sooner the infection can be diagnosed and treated, the better the prognosis.

There are several reasons pets may develop ear problems. "Dogs with narrow ear canals, floppy ears, and breeds with increased glands in the ear, such as cocker spaniels, are at an increased risk," says Dr. Banajee.

Other causes may be ear mites, which account for 50 percent of all cat ear infections and 10 percent of those in dogs. Underlying allergies and foreign bodies are also to blame.

That is why, though it may be tempting to use a Q-tip in your pet's ears, Dr. Banajee insists that "inserting anything into the ear canal without first consulting with your veterinarian can do much more harm than good."

Using leftover ear drops from other pets is not advisable either. Before prescribing the appropriate medication, a veterinarian must determine if the eardrum is still intact, and also figure out what type of "bug" is causing the problem. Unless you possess an otoscope, a microscope, and the knowledge of what drug treats what, don't risk causing your pet more trouble.

Although not all ear disorders can be prevented, some can. "Dogs that go swimming are at an increased risk for developing ear infections since the moist environment is a good place for bacteria to grow," says Dr. Banajee. He recommends that if your dog enjoys throwing on its swimsuit, you thoroughly dry out those ears after each dip.

Ear infections can be frustrating to treat because there are many causes. In most cases, an underlying process, such as an allergy or bad ear conformation, is what has made the animal more likely to have a bacterial or yeast overgrowth.

Because ear disorders can be complex, schedule an appointment with your veterinarian at the first sign your pet is symptomatic. Though your veterinarian may chuckle if you walk in with a close pin on your nose, try not to laugh too hard when he takes a whiff.

An archive of Pet Columns from the University of Illinois College of Veterinary Medicine is available online at www.cvm.uiuc.edu/petcolumns/. Requests for reprints of this article may be directed to Mandy Barth, mandyb@uiuc.edu.

Veterinary Extension/Office of Public Engagement
University of Illinois College of Veterinary Medicine
217/333-2907

Weekly Outlook: Corn and Soybeans

Published July 14, 2008

URBANA - There is a lot of the growing season left, but current crop and weather conditions suggest the possibility for further weakness in corn and soybean prices in the near term, said a University of Illinois Extension marketing specialist.

"Crop condition ratings and our crop weather model suggest that the U.S. average yield could be a bushel above the USDA projection if summer weather is near average and an early freeze is avoided," said Darrel Good. ""The lateness of the crop and extensive re-planting, however, make yield prospects very uncertain.

"The USDA's yield estimate in the August Crop Production report will be based on a very immature crop, but the acreage estimate will be important."

Good's comments came as he reviewed corn and soybean prices. Corn prices and, to a lesser extent, soybean prices have come under pressure over the past two weeks. The weakness started with the USDA's June Acreage report and continues as production prospects improve.

On July 11, the USDA released the monthly World Agricultural Supply and Demand Estimates report.

"For corn, that report confirmed trends revealed in the June 30 Grain Stocks report and general trade expectations," said Good. "The forecast of feed and residual use of corn during the current marketing year was reduced by 100 million bushels, reflecting the larger-than-expected June 1 inventory as well as a 30-million-bushel increase in projected feed and residual use of wheat this summer.

"The forecast of ethanol use of corn during the current year was reduced by 50 million bushels and the projection of other processing uses was reduced by 15 million bushels."

Despite a recent slowdown in weekly export inspections, the projection of 2007-08 marketing year exports was unchanged at 2.45 billion bushels.

"The unchanged forecast likely reflects the fact that Census Bureau export estimates through May exceeded the USDA's cumulative export inspections by 65 million bushels," said Good. "Sept. 1, 2008 stocks are projected at 1.598 billion bushels, 165 million above the June forecast."

For the 2008-09 marketing year, the U.S. average corn yield is forecast at 148.4 bushels, based on a linear trend from 1990 through 2007 adjusted for late planting and emergence and a smaller portion of harvested acreage in the Corn Belt.

"That forecast is 0.5 bushels below the June forecast," said Good. "Production is forecast at 11.715 billion bushels. Consumption forecasts were little changed from June with a 50-million-bushel increase in feed and residual use and a 65-million-bushel reduction in food and industrial use.

"Some believe that ethanol use of corn will not reach the USDA projection of 3.95 billion bushels, but margins have improved significantly as a result of the recent drop in corn prices. Year-ending stocks are expected to be small at 833 million bushels, but 160 million larger than forecast last month."

Generally favorable weather in recent weeks and a forecast of needed precipitation in parts of the northern Corn Belt suggest that corn production prospects are continuing to improve. Crop condition ratings, along with our crop weather model, suggest that the U.S. average yield could be two to three bushels above the USDA forecast if at least average weather conditions persist, Good added.

The first yield forecast based on producer surveys and field observations will be released on Aug. 12.

"Crop maturity is late enough that yields will be difficult to estimate," he noted. "However, the adjustments, if any, to planted and harvested acreage estimates will be very important."

For soybeans, two changes were made in the projections of use during the current marketing year.

"Exports are now projected at 1.145 billion bushels, 35 million larger than the June projection," he said. "The larger projection likely reflects the ongoing strong pace of shipments and the fact that Census Bureau export estimates through May exceed the USDA's cumulative export inspection estimate by 29 million bushels.

"The larger export projection was offset by a reduction in the projection of residual use. That use is now projected at minus-35 million bushels, further evidence that the 2007 crop was underestimated."

For the 2008-09 marketing year, the U.S. average soybean yield is projected at 41.6 bushels, based on 1989 through 2007 regional trend analysis adjusted for late planting and emergence. That projection is 0.5 bushels below the June forecast and, when coupled with fewer acres revealed in the June Acreage report, results in a production forecast of three billion bushels.

"That forecast is 105 million below the June forecast," he said. "The projection of use during the 2008-09 marketing year was 67 million below the June forecast, but the projection of year-ending stocks declined by 35 million bushels, to a total of only 140 million bushels."

-30-

Program Set For Field Day at Monmouth Research Center

Published July 10, 2008
URBANA—Thursday, August 28 has been set as the date for the 2008 Field Day at the University of Illinois' Northwest Research Center (NWRC) at Monmouth. Tours of research plots will begin at 8:00 a.m. The last tour will depart at 9:00 a.m., and each tour will take about two hours to complete.

As part of the tour, Emerson Nafziger from U of I Extension will discuss planting dates and yield prospects for corn. Dawn Refsell from the U of I Department of Crop Sciences will present options for pre-emergence herbicide.

Kevin Steffey from U of I Extension will give updates on the status of the rootworm beetle variant and western bean cutworm in northwestern Illinois. Gary Schnitkey, U of I Extension Specialist in Farm Management, will provide insights on managing for higher input cost for corn and soybeans. Loretta Ortiz-Ribbing, U of I Extension Educator, will talk about "Sorting out the Good from the Bad; Identifying Beneficial Insects in Crops."

There will be 0.5 hours of Certified Crop Advisor credits for professional development, 1.5 hours for integrated pest management, and 0.5 hours for crop management. Refreshments will be served.

The NWRC is located approximately 1 mile north and 4 miles west of the intersection of highways 34 and 67 on the north side of Monmouth.

For further information, contact the NWRC at 321 210th Avenue, Monmouth, IL 61462, (309)734-7459, or e-mail adee@uiuc.edu.

-30

Tappenden Becomes 33rd President of Nutrition Support Organization

Published July 9, 2008
URBANA - Kelly Tappenden, an associate professor of nutrition and gastrointestinal physiology at the University of Illinois and associate dean of the U of I Graduate College, began her term as the 33rd president of the American Society of Parenteral and Enteral Nutrition (ASPEN) on June 1. She is the second dietitian in the organization's history to head a society that represents more than 5,000 health care professionals committed to nutrition support therapy.

"I see this position as an opportunity to improve patient care by advancing the science and practice of nutrition support therapy," Tappenden said.

Tappenden has worked in nutrition support therapy for more than 15 years. As a U of I researcher, she has served in several leadership capacities in ASPEN and outside the organization.

Within ASPEN, Tappenden has served as the organization's Research Committee chair; on the Journals Task Force; on the Blue Ribbon Task Force; and on the Clinical Trials Initiative Task Force, among others. She has also been active in professional societies with a focus on nutrition or nutrition support, including the American Dietetic Association, the American Gastroenterological Association; and the American Society of Nutritional Sciences.

At the U of I, in addition to her duties as an associate professor, Tappenden mentors students in the research of clinical nutrition therapy. Her mentees have received many honors for research in nutrition support therapy. She believes strongly in the influence of research on future clinicians, and as ASPEN's president, she will pursue strategic alliances with other organizations to expand upon opportunities to share expertise in nutrition support.

Tappenden earned her doctorate from the University of Alberta. Her thesis was "Short-Chain Fatty Acids Enhance Intestinal Adaptation in Rats Receiving Total Parenteral Nutrition: A Multiorgan Analysis."

Her research has appeared in prestigious journals, including the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition; Digestive Diseases and Sciences; the Journal of Parenteral and Enteral Nutrition; Current Opinions in Clinical Nutrition and Metabolic Care, the Journal of Pediatric Surgery, and the American Journal of Physiology. Dr. Tappenden's latest work, Intestinal Failure--Diagnosis, Management, and Transplantation, was published in March 2008.

An accomplished lecturer, Tappenden has facilitated international discussions focused on strategies to enhance intestinal function by optimizing nutrition support therapies.

During her tenure as ASPEN president, she will increase awareness of the value of research in the daily activities of the nutrition support team. "The research component in nutrition support therapy cannot be underestimated," said Tappenden.

"Research is neither pedestrian nor mystical. It is the missing element that provides clinicians with the tools they need to optimally provide nutrition support therapy and thereby enhance outcomes for the innumerable patients whose lives are so greatly impacted.

"As president of the premiere nutrition support organization, my goal is to connect the dots between everyday clinical applications and the evidence enlightening our knowledge of best practices. It is in this collective endeavor that we will find our path to the future," she said.

Tappenden believes strongly in leveraging the value of the interdisciplinary nature of ASPEN--a health care community of doctors, nurses, dietitians, and physician assistants--to improve patient care by advancing the science and practice of nutrition support therapy for patients and their families.

-30-

American Society for Parenteral and Enteral Nutrition (ASPEN)

The American Society for Parenteral and Enteral Nutrition (ASPEN) is an interdisciplinary association of health care professionals from every facet of nutrition support including clinical practice, research and education. Founded in 1976, ASPEN and its members are dedicated to improving patient care by advancing the science and practice of nutrition support therapy.

Program Set for Agronomy Day 2008

Published July 9, 2008
URBANA-The final program has been set for Agronomy Day 2008. The event will take place on Thursday, August 21 at the Crop Sciences Research and Education Center on the Urbana campus of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. The theme for this year's Agronomy Day is "Energizing Agriculture."

"Agronomy Day provides our faculty with the chance to discuss their latest research findings with clientele from Illinois and neighboring states," said Bob Dunker, superintendent of the South Farms and chairperson for Agronomy Day. "The major focus of this year's program will be the future of bioenergy in agriculture."

Besides tours and tent displays highlighting the latest developments in agricultural research, this year's program will include a special presentation at noon featuring Seth Snyder from the Energy Systems Division at the Argonne National Laboratories. He will discuss biomass systems and utilization and what it means to Illinois farms and the region.

This 52nd consecutive Agronomy Day is a partnership among several academic units in the U of I's College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences (ACES).

One tour will include stops on corn nematodes, maximizing returns on fertilizer investment, resistance genes to fight soybean diseases and pests, and pushing soybean yields. A second tour will focus on ethylene, managing wheat scab, soybean aphids, and managing pests in corn.

A third tour will focus on residual herbicides, waterhemp, managing giant ragweed in corn, and utilizing fertilizer value in manure. A final tour will feature presentations on several bioenergy issues. These include corn stover, effects of biofuel cropping systems on soil, biomass feedstock production, and alternative markets for bioenergy crops.

Agronomy Day will begin at 7 a.m. Hour-long wagon tours around the research plots will repeat every half-hour until noon as groups are available. Lunch will be available at a nominal charge.

The Crop Sciences Research and Education Center is located south of the U of I's main Urbana-Champaign campus off of St. Mary's Road on South Wright Street Extended.

Additional information about Agronomy Day 2008 is available at www.cropsci.uiuc.edu/agronomyday or by contacting Sharon Conatser, (217)333-4256.

-30-

Living with Wildlife Website

Published July 9, 2008

URBANA - If a woodchuck is digging up your garden or a raccoon has decided to reside under your deck, you now have a "one-stop" place to go for answers, thanks to a joint effort between University of Illinois Extension and the Illinois Department of Natural Resources (IDNR).

Living With Wildlife in Illinois (http://livingwithwildlife.extension.uiuc.edu) is focused on helping Illinois residents coexist with wildlife, especially in urban areas.

"The website is designed to help people either prevent problems with wildlife or learn what to do if a problem is already occurring," explained Laura Kammin, U of I Extension wildlife and natural resources specialist and one of the site's developers.

"Most people aren't aware that by Illinois law an animal removal permit must be requested from IDNR before most species of wildlife may be removed from private property, either by the resident or a nuisance wildlife control operator."

The website includes information about the permits as well as contact numbers for IDNR district wildlife biologists, nuisance wildlife control operators, and wildlife rehabilitators.

"The permit is free. By requesting a permit from an IDNR district wildlife biologist, people will be able to get professional advice on how to safely trap nuisance wildlife. The permits also help the IDNR track the number of nuisance wildlife complaints around the state," she said.

Residential and commercial developments are increasing the frequency of human and wildlife interaction.

"Raccoons are one of several generalist species that have adapted to living in urban environments," she said.

But raccoons and other wildlife don't necessarily make the best neighbors. For instance, woodchucks can wreak havoc in a garden. Raccoons literally can move into your house.

"Buildings should be regularly checked for signs of weathering. Soft spots in soffits, fascia, or near dormers make it easier for raccoons and squirrels to chew into your home. Raccoons may also den under decks and porches.

Development has also lured some species back.

"Canada geese didn't use to be that common," said Kammin. "Now, with all the ponds around various developments, the geese are coming back."

When the raccoon is at the door--or under the deck--many homeowners automatically dial their county's animal control department.

"In many cases, those departments are either overwhelmed with normal dog-and-cat calls or don't have workers with the expertise to deal with wild animals. Some will help in an emergency, such as removing wildlife from the living quarters of your home. Others will lend you live-traps and will pick up the animals when they are captured," she said.

"However, trying to trap wildlife is not recommended for someone who has no experience. There are dangers involved in dealing with wild animals. It is best to hire a nuisance wildlife control operator."

The website includes contact information for wildlife biologists that can provide that information, she added.

Among the website's features are pages on identifying the animal that is causing the problem, seasonal behaviors of wildlife, preventing and solving problems, a directory of Illinois wildlife, public health and safety issues, how to help sick, injured, or orphaned wildlife, and frequently asked questions.

-30-

Vaccines: What Cat Owners Need to Know

Published July 9, 2008
On my first trip to the veterinarian's office as proud new cat owner I pondered the question that I am sure has crossed the minds of many cat owners at some point. Does my cat really need these vaccines? My kitten, like many of yours, was destined to be an indoor-only cat so why did I need to drag her into the vet clinic every year for vaccines?

According to Dr. Melissa Riensche, a small animal internal medicine resident at the University of Illinois Veterinary Teaching Hospital in Urbana, the answer is actually quite simple. As with human medicine, vaccinations are an important part of the preventative medicine veterinarians practice. The ultimate goal of a vaccination is to eliminate the spread of certain diseases or, if that is not possible, to reduce the disease severity.

The vaccines engineered for your cat are separated into several categories referred to as core, non-core, and those that are generally not recommended. These categories are defined based on factors like: the overall efficacy of the vaccine, your pet's individual risk factors, and the health risks associated with the vaccine. Core vaccines are ones that most animals should receive and in some cases a core vaccine may actually be required by law.

The vaccine for the rabies virus is one such vaccine that is required by law, although requirements to vaccinate can vary by state and county. Dr. Riensche recommends checking with your local veterinarian to see if the rabies vaccine is mandated by law where you live. In these areas there can be penalties and fines for owners that choose not to vaccinate for rabies, with the most severe consequences occurring should your pet bite a person or another animal.

Other core vaccines include feline herpesvirus 1, feline calicivirus, and feline panleukopenia virus vaccines. Dr. Riensche explains that "While these vaccines may be listed as core vaccines, certain health conditions and lifestyles can change your cat's need for vaccination and owners should discuss with their veterinarian to make sure the benefits of vaccination outweigh any risks."

Core vaccines are those that most animals should have. Vaccines that are considered to be non-core, including vaccines for Chlamydophila felis, bronchiseptica (bordetella), feline immunodeficiency virus, and feline leukemia virus (FeLV), are given based on your pet's individual risk factor for acquiring those diseases.

For example, if your cat lives its entire life indoors with no contact with any other cats it may not be a good candidate to receive the FeLV vaccine since that disease is spread from cat to cat via bite wounds, nursing, and other close, direct contact. However, cats that are negative for FeLV that spend time outdoors or may otherwise come in contact with an infected cat should be vaccinated against the virus.

In order to determine your cat's need for any non-core vaccines your veterinarian will need to know your pet's risk factors. Discuss with your veterinarian whether your cat will have any access to the outdoors, if there are any potentially infected pets in your household, whether you routinely foster any animals or take in stray cats, etc. Based on your cat's lifestyle, your veterinarian will be able to make recommendations as to which, if any, non-core vaccines your fluffy companion should receive.

The last category of vaccines are those that are generally not recommended, regardless of your pet's risk of infection. Vaccines in this category include those for feline infectious peritonitis (FIP) and giardia. Many veterinarians refrain from using the FIP vaccine since the efficacy of the vaccine is controversial. Similarly, routine use of the Giardia vaccine is not recommended since infection is not usually life-threatening, in fact most infected animals are asymptomatic, and the vaccine does not actually prevent infection.

After you and your veterinarian determine which vaccines your cat should receive during its appointment your job as an owner is not over. According to Dr. Riensche the risks associated with vaccinations are low but can include allergic reactions and vaccine-associated sarcomas.

"An allergic reaction to a vaccine will usually present itself soon after vaccination. Owners should watch for vomiting, swelling of the face or around the injection site, respiratory distress such as panting, and any other signs that their pet just isn't doing well," advises Dr. Riensche.

If you know your pet has reacted to a vaccine in the past Dr. Riensche recommends discussing with your veterinarian how to prevent reactions from occurring next time your pet is vaccinated and whether the risk of your pet's vaccine reaction outweighs the benefit of vaccination.

Some of the vaccines that your pet may be receiving can carry with them the risk of a cancer known as vaccine-associated sarcoma. While the risk of your pet developing a vaccine-associated sarcoma is low, this form of soft-tissue cancer has been linked to the use of adjuvanted FeLV and rabies vaccines.

"Owners should be vigilant when their cat is receiving its vaccines to make sure they are given in the correct region of the body and as far down on the limb as possible. This will make diagnosis and treatment easier if your pet does develop a sarcoma later down the road," explains Dr. Riensche.

For more information on vaccines for your cat please contact your local veterinarian.

Weekly Outlook: Pork Price Boom

Published July 8, 2008

Extraordinary losses for pork producers in 2008 may be offset by extraordinary profits in the last half of 2009 and 2010, said a Purdue University Extension marketing specialist.

"This will be especially true if Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) land is relapsed in 2009, if ethanol receives less support, if 2009 weather is favorable, and if crude oil prices don't keep moving higher," said Chris Hurt. "There are still plenty of uncertainties, and most won't feel relieved about 'better times' until they arrive."

Hurt's comments came as he reviewed the pork market, where he believes the product is dramatically undervalued.

"Pork is cheap in the United States, but it is 'dirt cheap' for many of our foreign buyers since the strength of their currencies effectively lowers the price even more," he said. "Pork is at bargain basement prices when you realize that U.S. producers are producing and selling hogs at huge losses.

"In essence, U.S. producers are providing huge subsidies to U.S. and foreign consumers. Why wouldn't the world's pork buyers be banging at our door for these bargains? Why would foreign pork producers want to try to compete with U.S. producers?"

Hurt believes that all this indicates that U.S. pork prices will explode to the upside like other commodities have done. The question is, when?

To understand the situation, Hurt started with cheap domestic pork. Retail prices of pork have averaged $2.85 per pound so far this year compared with $2.87 for 2007. He estimates that pork producers have contributed to the lower pork prices with about $1.4 billion in losses in the first half of 2008 alone.

"The cheap U.S. dollar relative to currencies of other countries with which we trade pork should stimulate exports and reduce pork imports. That is exactly what is happening," he said. "For the first four months of 2008, pork exports have expanded by 52 percent and imports have dropped by 12 percent."

Trade is accounting for a substantial portion of the record pork production in the United States, he added.

In the first four months of 2008, commercial production was up 11 percent, yet when trade was considered, the amount of pork available to U.S. consumers was only up 6 percent.

"That is to say that additional trade has accounted for about 5 percent of all the added pork production in early 2008," Hurt said. "More importantly, the export parade is just getting rolling as pork exports reached a record 22 percent of U.S. production in April. This was up from a mere 14 percent for all of last year."

Where is all that pork going?

"The answer is almost everywhere as the world has discovered one of the last food bargains on the globe," he said. "About one-half of the higher exports this year compared to the same period last year are headed to China and Hong Kong--most likely transshipped to China.

"Exports to most other major buyers are up as well, with Japan up 14 percent, Russia up 58 percent, and Canada up 27 percent. It is becoming clear that the world will continue to buy up the huge U.S. production until pork prices move sharply higher. Maybe U.S. consumers can't eat all of the U.S.-produced pork at profitable prices to producers, but the world can."

And how much pork is there going to be?

First, Hurt said, consider the June flooding and the subsequent movement of corn prices from the $6 level to $7. The bleakness of the outlook surely has convinced more producers to slaughter sows. The latest Hogs and Pigs report from the USDA shows the breeding herd down about 1 percent with farrowing intentions to drop by 2 percent this summer and then be off 4 percent this fall.

"Both of those declines will likely be larger since the USDA survey was taken before the June flooding," he said. "Another 2 percent drop would put the summer farrowings down 4 percent and fall down 6 percent--some serious declines.

"Slaughter supplies will be up by about 10 percent in July, and then the percentages will begin to drop, with 6 percent higher supplies in August and 4 percent more in the fall. Winter slaughter supplies could finally be down by 3 percent, and spring 2009 supplies could be down as much as 5 percent."

When does the boom in pork and hog prices come?

"Based on projections of U.S. slaughter supplies, prices will improve very late this fall and winter and go wildly higher by next spring and summer," Hurt said. "When one adds the trade boom, this advances the price escalation. Trade data lags about two months so we are always slow to see those impacts.

"Trade will likely continue to accelerate, and this will encourage even stronger prices than the supply reductions expected for late this year and 2009."

Hurt added that the upward movement has begun for cattle, where prices have been up nearly $10 per hundredweight in the last three weeks. Given the coming declines in pork supply and the more-than-vigorous export growth, hog prices should not be far behind.

"If U.S. consumers don't want to buy up the last of the cheap pork, the world is anxious for the opportunity," he said.

"The issue for individual pork producers is whether they can hang on long enough for hog prices to catch up with costs. Expectations now are for live hog prices to trade in the lower-to-mid-$50s for this summer and fall, then move into the low $60s by winter and on to the higher $60s and mid-$70s by next spring and summer. Given prices of corn and soybean meal on July 7, costs of production for farrow-to-finish producers are estimated to be in the low $60s."

-30-

Time to Identify Sale Bulls

Published July 3, 2008

URBANA - It's not too early to begin identifying bulls for consignment to the 2009 Illinois Performance Tested (IPT) Bull Sale, said a University of Illinois Extension animal systems educator.

"Some changes have been instituted for the 2009 sale which will be held Feb. 19 at the Illinois State Fairgrounds in Springfield," said Dave Seibert, who also manages the show. "The 2009 sale will maintain the same six trait power scores with equal emphasis on EPDs for birth weight, weaning weight, yearling weight, maternal milk, percent intramuscular fat, and rib eye area.

"However, the maximum power score at the time of cataloging will be lowered to 55 in 2009 and 50 in 2011."

There will also be changes in some other areas as well. A copy of the rules and regulations for the sale can be obtained by contacting Seibert at 727 Sabrina Drive, East Peoria, IL 61611, (309) 694-7501 ext. 224, e-mail: dseibert@uiuc.edu .

Nomination deadlines and fees are three-tiered: Nov. 15, $75; Dec. 1, $100; and Dec. 15, $125.

-30-

Farm Family Living Costs Jump

Published July 3, 2008

URBANA - Living expenses for the average Illinois farm family increased $6,726 between 2006 and 2007, according to a University of Illinois Extension study.

"The average amount spent per family for capital items--autos, furniture, and household equipment--was $1,426 more while non-capital expenses jumped $5,300 per family," said Dale Lattz, U of I Extension farm management specialist who conducted the study.

"Farm and Family Living Income and Expenses for 2007" (http://www.farmdoc.uiuc.edu/manage/newsletters/fefo08_12/fefo08_12.html) is available on Extension's farmdoc website. The study was based on data from 1,232 farm families enrolled in the Illinois Farm Business Farm Management Association (FBFM). The sample farms were mainly grain enterprises located in central and northern Illinois.

For farm families, income and Social Security tax payments increased about 7 percent in 2007 over 2006. The amount of income taxes paid in 2007 averaged $10,964 compared to $10,251 in 2006.

"Medical expenses were higher last year compared to 2006," said Lattz. "Medical expenses include out-of-pocket costs for health insurance along with doctor and hospital expenses."

Farmers continue to seek off-farm income, he added.

"Net nonfarm income continues to increase, averaging $31,668 in 2007," he said. "Net nonfarm income has increased $13,676, or 76 percent, in the last 10 years."

Non-capital living expenses averaged $60,294 per year--or $5,025 per month--for the state's average farm family in 2007.

"This average was 9.6 percent higher than in 2006 and 14.3 percent higher than in 2005," he said.

-30-

Pages