College of ACES
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ACES Office of International Programs hosts author Roger Thurow

Published October 13, 2010
Roger Thurow, author of "ENOUGH: Why the World's Poorest Starve in an Age of Plenty," will visit the University of Illinois on Wednesday, Oct. 20. Thurow will participate in the ACES International Lecture Series sponsored by the College of Agriculture, Consumer and Environmental Sciences (ACES) Office of International Programs.

Thurow will address the topic, "Why Not Hunger, Raising Clamor on Hunger Through Agricultural Development." The lecture will be held in the ACES Funk Library Monsanto Room at 4 p.m. Following the lecture, a reception will be held in the Morgan Room at 5 p.m. All are welcome and encouraged to attend.

"We are pleased to host author Roger Thurow as he draws attention to the importance of agricultural development and sustainability in a hungry world," said Theresa Miller, program coordinator for the ACES Office of International Programs.

Thurow is a senior fellow for global agriculture and food policy in The Chicago Council on Global Affairs. He began this role in January 2010 after working three decades at The Wall Street Journal. For 20 years, he served as a foreign correspondent based in Europe and Africa. His reporting on humanitarian and development issues was honored by the United Nations.

While at the U of I, Thurow will tour campus and present lectures. He will present to the Agricultural and Consumer Economics 251 World Food Economy class as well as meet with College of ACES Dean Hauser and ACES faculty.

The ACES Office of International Programs is sponsoring Thurow's visit with support from multiple U of I organizations. Their office is designed to infuse international programming into the three mission areas of a land grant university: research, teaching and extension.

The ACES Office of International Programs provides service functions to the College and University in terms of hosting and organizing visiting scholars, providing support to faculty who are interested in developing international programs, and bringing visibility to international issues in food, community and agriculture.

Thurow's book, "ENOUGH: Why the World's Poorest Starve in an Age of Plenty" is currently on sale at the Illini Union bookstore and is being highlighted in the Illini Union One Book, One Campus campaign.

This release was prepared by Cassie Becker of the ACES Office of International Programs.

Taming wild grapes for better wine

Published October 13, 2010
When you think about "wine country," Illinois may not be the first state that comes to mind. But it's actually big business on the prairie. There are 90 wineries licensed in Illinois and 1,500 acres of wine grapes. One acre of wine grapes can bring as much as $8,000 in sales, though more commonly it's $3,000 to $5,000. The largest wineries in Illinois produce 90,000 gallons per year, while many produce 3,000 to 10,000 per year.

"In many cases, growing wine grapes is supplementary to the producer's entire farming operation. The break-even point for wineries is about 10,000 gallons to make it a full-time business," said Bill Shoemaker, superintendent at the St. Charles Horticulture Research Center.

Shoemaker works with other University of Illinois researchers to conduct grape research at the Center. For one of his latest projects, he is crossing wild grapes with proven wine grape varieties to develop a good wine grape that can withstand the cooler northern Illinois weather.

"There are wild grapes growing along the roadside on I-57," Shoemaker said. "The interstate grapes root easily with no further help. Their native genetics means that they have already adapted to this climate but they aren't good for eating or wine-making. We're crossing them with European grapes that have high quality to create new varieties that will grow in our climate and be a good wine grape."

Unfortunately, the wild grapes have poor flavor and low yield. But Shoemaker is looking at three wild grape species that have excellent disease resistance to create breeding lines that will require less use of pesticides. Right now growers sometimes have to spray in order to grow a good wine grape, so this would be a great step forward for the industry.

"There isn't much grape breeding being done to create improved varieties globally. We're working to improve the fruit quality and develop new flavor profiles in wine," he said.

The northern and southern hilly parts of the state have more potential for vineyards, with Galena in Jo Davies County part of a new American viticulture region, said Shoemaker.

Since 1998 grapes, particularly cold-hardy wine grapes, have been a subject of research at the University of Illinois St. Charles Horticulture Research Center. The research was initiated by U of I scientists Robert Skirvin and Alan Otterbacher with a trial of 26 grape varieties planted on a southwest-facing slope — Shoemaker noted that it was the only southwest-facing slope available in the area.

Today Shoemaker conducts research at the St. Charles Center on cultivar evaluation, cultural research, including Integrated Pest Management, and breeding new varieties of grapes. "Cultural practices are all the methods growers use to manage the grape crop such as pest management" Shoemaker said. "Grapes are popular with many pests. There are insect challenges at every point in the growing season, especially during harvest. There are also several fungal diseases that can infect current varieties, and weeds, particularly perennial weeds such as Canada thistle, are constantly challenging growers and their grape crops."

Perhaps worst of all are the animals that love to eat grapes, Shoemaker said. Birds can decimate vineyards.

At the St. Charles Center, Shoemaker manages a 1-acre vineyard of Frontenac grape which was established as a research platform in 2006. "We knew we needed a vineyard dedicated to studying the cultural practices growers use, or need to use, to successfully grow grapes for high-quality wine," he said.

On one of the research projects in the Frontenac vineyard Shoemaker is working with U of I researcher Rick Weinzierl on methods to control Japanese beetles.

"We are evaluating three pesticide regimens and two cultural controls for the pest. We are also looking at spun-bonded polypropylene row covers over the top of the vines as an exclusion barrier to the beetle. This could be attractive to organic grape growers if there are no negative effects on the vines or fruit development," Shoemaker said.

Weinzierl said they hope to identify reduced-risk insecticides and nonchemical methods, such as the spun-bound polyester covers, that will allow conventional and organic growers to prevent losses to Japanese beetles without too frequent sprays of insecticides that might result in greater residues or toxicity to beneficial insects. "This would result in greater profits for the Illinois wine industry," he said.

Evaluating new grape varieties for their potential use in the grape wine industry is time consuming, Shoemaker said. "The Europeans, especially the French, created thousands of varieties of interspecific hybrids, many of which have never been grown in the Midwest. Most never will, as they were not exported to North America. But many were and some are planted here at St. Charles. We are also evaluating new varieties and breeding lines from other breeding programs at St. Charles so we can identify which have the greatest potential for our industry," Shoemaker said.

Support for this work has been provided by the State of Illinois and the Illinois Grape Growers and Vintners Association (IGGVA) since 2005.


Former U of I staff member inducted into National 4-H Hall of Fame

Published October 12, 2010
Mary Kay Munson, formerly of Champaign, Illinois, was inducted into the National 4-H Hall of Fame on Oct. 8, 2010 for her lifetime achievements and contributions to 4-H. Honored by the National Association of Extension 4-H Agents (NAE4-HA), Munson was one of 16 people inducted during the ceremony held at the National 4-H Youth Conference Center in Chevy Chase, Md.

"University of Illinois Extension and the 4-H Youth Development Program are proud to have nominated Mary Kay Munson in recognition of her outstanding efforts to the 4-H program during her tenure as a University staff member," said Sheri Seibold, 4-H youth development specialist. "She has served as a mentor to many current and retired Extension 4-H youth development staff members and is recognized nationally for her work in risk management, volunteer screening, service learning, leadership skills, and character education."

For more than three decades, Munson has contributed to the 4-H youth development movement. Her primary work has been in the areas of citizenship, leadership, and volunteerism through developing curricula, mentoring and training educators, creating volunteer delivery systems, partnering with state and national organizations, and championing professional development opportunities. Munson served as a 4-H youth development specialist with the University of Illinois Extension 4-H youth development program from 1978 to 2002. She retired in 2002 and now lives in Kansas and serves as the 4-H International Exchange Coordinator for the Kansas State University 4-H Program.

"More than 100 years ago, the founders of 4-H had very good instincts. While history tells us they were motivated by helping rural families adopt improved practices, these pioneers were wise enough to know that developing the individual was equally important," said Munson. "They created a program that could adapt to a variety of situations and where most young people could have success. They based it on staffing by volunteer mentors and leadership of older members. I benefited from these 4-H principles 50 years ago as a member and throughout life. I hope I have fostered them for youth ever since."

"NAE4-HA is proud to acknowledge the outstanding 2010 National 4-H Hall of Fame honorees for the passion, dedication, vision, and leadership they've shown toward our young people during their many years of service to 4-H," said Earl McAlexander, President, NAE4-HA.

National 4-H Hall of Fame honorees are nominated by their home states based upon their exceptional leadership at the local, state, national, and international level. As part of the event, National 4-H Council also honored two recipients with the National Salute to Excellence Award, which is reserved for those 4-H volunteers who promote service as both an opportunity and a privilege.

The National 4-H Hall of Fame was established in 2002 as part of the Centennial Project of the NAE4-HA, and partners with National 4-H Council and the National Institute of Food and Agriculture, USDA. For more information about National 4-H Hall of Fame events and past recipients, visit

Markets get whipsawed

Published October 11, 2010
URBANA - December 2010 corn futures traded to a high of $5.235 on September 27 and closed at $5.05 on Sept. 29. On Oct. 4, the surprisingly large USDA Sept. 1 corn stocks estimate released on Sept. 30 sent that contract to a low of $4.56, said University of Illinois agricultural economist Darrel Good.

Similarly, the November 2010 soybean futures contract traded to $11.295 on Sept. 27, closed at $10.99 on Sept. 29, and declined to $10.44 on Oct. 4, he said.

"Price declines came to a halt with the release of USDA's October Crop Production report on Oct. 8. That report contained a unexpectedly small forecast of the size of the U.S. corn and soybean crops," he said.

The corn crop is now forecast at 12.664 billion bushels, 496 million smaller than the September forecast and 446 million smaller than the 2009 harvest. Although the estimate of harvested acreage was increased by 258,000 acres, the forecast yield was lowered by 6.7 bushels, to 155.8 bushels, he said.

"The decline from the September forecast was record large, eclipsing the 4.3 bushels of 1974 and the 4.5 bushels of 1995. Yield forecasts declined by 14 bushels in Illinois, 10 bushels in Indiana and Iowa, and 9 bushels in Missouri and Nebraska. The December 2010 futures contract traded to a high of $5.73 on October 11," he said.

The 2010 soybean crop is now forecast at 3.408 billion bushels, 75 million smaller than the September forecast, but 49 million larger than the 2009 crop, he said.

"The lower forecast this month reflected a reduction of 1.163 million bushels in the estimate of harvested acreage and a 0.3 bushel reduction in the yield forecast. At 44.4 bushels, the 2010 average U.S. yield is still expected to be record large. The November 2010 soybean futures contract traded to a high of $11.89 on Oct. 11," he said.

In a separate report, the USDA lowered the estimate of feed and residual use of corn during the 2009-10 marketing year as a result of the larger than expected Sept. 1 stocks estimate of Sept. 30, he said.

"For the current year, the forecast of corn exports was reduced by 100 million bushels, reflecting the anticipated impact of higher prices and increased competition from Argentina. Some had expected an increase in the forecast of Chinese imports of U.S. corn, but no changes were made in the projected corn balance sheet for China. The forecast size of the 2011 Argentine harvest was increased by 157 million bushels," he said.

The forecast of feed and residual use was increased by 150 million bushels, to a total of 5.4 billion bushels, he said.

"The USDA argued that apparent use during the first quarter of the year will be boosted by the early harvest that resulted in consumption of new crop corn before Sept. 1, but the argument is not entirely convincing. The combined estimates of feed and residual use of corn for the 2009-10 and 2010-11 marketing years appear too large," he said.

"Use during the first quarter will not be revealed until the Dec. 1 stocks estimate is released in early January. Some indication of feed use will be revealed in the monthly cattle on feed reports and the weekly reports of egg sets," he added.

Stocks of corn at the end of the 2010-11 marketing year are forecast at a 14-year low of 902 million bushels, or 6.7 percent of projected consumption, he noted.

"We consider a 5 percent stocks-to-use ratio, as experienced in 1995-96, to be a minimum carryover level. The USDA expects the 2010-11 marketing year average farm price to be in a range of $4.60 to $5.40, well above the previous record of $4.20 during the 2007-08 marketing year," he said.

For soybeans, the forecast of the size of the domestic crush during the current year was increased by 15 million bushels and the forecast of exports was increased by 35 million bushels, he said.

"At 1.52 billion bushels, exports are expected to be 22 million bushels larger than in the previous year. While the USDA increased the projected size of the 2011 Brazilian harvest by 73 million bushels, South American production is still expected to be 276 million bushels smaller than the record harvest of 2010.

"In addition, China is expected to import 2.02 billion bushels of soybeans from all sources during the current marketing year, up from 1.855 billion last year," he said.

Stocks of U.S. soybeans at the end of the 2010-11 marketing year are projected at 265 million bushels. That is a comfortable level of stocks, but it is 85 million less than last month's projection. The 2010-11 marketing year average farm price is projected in a range of $10 to $11.50 so the record of $10.10 during the 2007-08 marketing year may be exceeded, he said.

"Corn and soybean prices will now be influenced by expectations about the November production forecasts and the revealed rate of consumption. Chatter about acreage needs in 2011 has already begun, but it is likely premature," he said.

The actual rate of consumption over the next six months and the size of the South American crops will have significant impacts on U.S. acreage needs in 2011. Early thinking is that more corn acres will be needed in 2011. The degree of acreage competition for spring planted crops will be influenced by winter wheat seeding decisions to be revealed in early January, he said.


MarketMaker receives USDA award

Published October 11, 2010
University of Illinois Extension's National Food MarketMaker Project was one of four groups honored with USDA's National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) Partnership Award for their exemplary work and outstanding contribution in support of the USDA mission and for their positive impacts on agriculture at their annual NIFA Award Ceremony in Washington, D.C. on October 6, 2010.

MarketMaker received the award in the category of Multistate Efforts. The online marketing resource gives farmers greater access to regional markets by linking them with processors, retailers, consumers and other food supply chain participants. The University of Illinois-led effort boasts a partnership of 17 land-grant institutions and over 30 departments of agriculture and non-governmental organizations.

"NIFA's Partnership Awards showcase the outstanding work of our grantees and highlight the important role our partners play in advancing agricultural science, education and extension," said Roger Beachy, NIFA director.

"We're really honored and excited to receive this kind of national recognition," said Dar Knipe, University of Illinois Extension marketing specialist. "The emphasis of this award is on multi-state collaboration. We have been fortunate to have an extraordinary team of individuals from across the country who has worked hard to make this program a success. They made MarkerMaker award worthy."

The national website is located at Participating states are highlighted, making it easy for users to navigate from state to state and get data from a combination of states or from just one area.

For more information about MarketMaker contact Darlene Knipe (; 309-792-2500).

MarketMaker is jointly supported by The University of Illinois, The National Institute of Food and Agriculture, The Ag Marketing Resource Center (AgMRC), The Applied Sustainability Center and all of the participating state partners. The project was initially funded by the Illinois Department of Agriculture, University of Illinois Extension, and the Illinois Council on Food and Agricultural Research (C-FAR).


Why Does My Dog Eat Poop?

Published October 7, 2010
An archive of Pet Columns from the University of Illinois College of Veterinary Medicine is available online at Requests for reprints of this article may be directed to Chris Beuoy,

Man's best friend has some baffling habits that sometimes offend man's best sensibilities. Nobody likes to talk about it, but everyone wonders, "Why does my dog eat poop?"

Dr. Kelly Ballantyne, a veterinarian at the University of Illinois Chicago Center for Veterinary Medicine, has a special interest in animal behavior and offers behavior consultations for pet owners. Veterinary behavior integrates medicine, research, learning science, and deductive reasoning, but some behaviors can't quite be figured out.

Dr. Ballantyne says this habit of dogs usually has nothing to do with their health, and it falls into the "unexplainable behaviors" category. While there is no solid answer as to why dogs eat poop, there are some linked behaviors for the majority of the dogs who do.

Ironically, the dogs who eat poop tend to be very fastidious. They do not soil their sleeping or resting areas. So contrary to human logic, this behavior is not a "dirty dog" behavior.

There has been limited research on this puzzling question. One study showed that in domestic dogs, those that had been spayed and neutered were 50 percent more likely to eat stool than intact dogs. There is also evidence that dogs that eat quickly are twice as likely as to eat stool as dogs who are picky or slow eaters. If you have a dog that's a picky eater, that behavior might have a positive side!

Published findings also indicate that the behavior is most common among basset hounds, shelties, poodles, and various retriever breeds.

The next question that comes up actually is more important: How do you keep your dog from eating poop?

Unfortunately, behavior modification does not seem to be a very reliable or effective way to prevent poop-eating. Commercial food additives marketed as addressing this problem also have not been found to be effective.

The most effective prevention method is to be diligent. Keep the yard clean and pick up stool immediately after your dog defecates. When walking your dog, have good control with the leash and, well, have great reflexes!

So while it isn't completely understood why dogs eat stool, the best advice is to minimize their access.

For more information, contact your local veterinarian.

An archive of Pet Columns from the University of Illinois College of Veterinary Medicine is available online at Requests for reprints of this article may be directed to Chris Beuoy,

Veterinary Extension/Office of Public Engagement
University of Illinois College of Veterinary Medicine

What ailed corn following corn in 2010?

Published October 7, 2010
Illinois corn yielded less than expected in most areas in 2010, and corn following corn was particularly hard hit. Because current crop acreages are skewed toward corn, at least 20 percent of the 2010 corn in Illinois followed corn.

"This follows a period of several years during which corn following corn has often yielded about the same as corn following soybean," said Emerson Nafziger, University of Illinois Extension agronomist. "It has been common, particularly in the corn rootworm variant areas of Illinois, to have yields of corn following corn to be as high as those of corn following soybean, especially since the advent of rootworm resistance traits. For many producers, lower yields of corn following corn come as a shock."

Corn following corn was challenged from the start, Nafziger said.

"In many fields, corn never looked very good," he said. "Compared to corn following soybean, emergence was uneven, crop color was poor, and the crop struggled to take up enough nitrogen to grow well, regardless of nitrogen rates and management. With May and June being so wet, many who waited to apply nitrogen until after planting struggled to get it applied on time. Nitrogen availability was an issue in these fields, but also in fields where N was applied on time."

Nafziger said that a number of factors contributed to disappointing yields of corn following corn.

"Soils were too wet to do a good job of tillage, whether we did that last fall or this spring, and more than the usual amount of residue remained on the surface," he said. "Soils were wet and fairly cold coming into April. The surface residue and cool, wet soil conditions combined to get the crop off to a tough start."

The nice stretch of April weather to get the crop planted helped, but soil conditions were not great, especially in fields where pre-plant nitrogen was applied and/or more tillage was done.

Soil temperatures didn't increase until after mid-May, Nafziger said. The corn crop was up by then, but in many fields was already uneven and sickly appearing.

"We think that corn following corn, especially in cool, wet soils, tends to be affected by where its roots are in relation to last year's residue, including root remnants," he said. "Much of the residue was not buried well, and it's likely that many new-crop roots were close to old-crop residue. Residue after the fall and winter was unusually well preserved into the spring of 2010, and this could have contributed to the problem."

As well, tilled corn-on-corn fields were more likely to take in rain that fell in May and June, causing soils to remain cool and slowing drying rates.

"Because of this, I believe roots were damaged early and may never have recovered fully," Nafziger said. "This probably reduced the ability of root systems to take up water and nutrients, especially nitrogen."

As soils warmed up, the breakdown of old crop residue likely tied up nitrogen quickly. The crop was growing fast at that point and needed a lot of nitrogen, which would have been slow to release from the residue.

When excessive water damaged these root systems, plants couldn't take up enough water and nutrients, and this led to stress and kernel abortion. Adding to this the hot, dry weather in mid-August, and we ended up with lower-than-expected kernel numbers and reduced filling rates during much of the grain-filling period.

For more information, check out the October 7 edition of The Bulletin, an online publication written by U of I Extension specialists in crop science, at

Transgenic corn suppresses European corn borer, saves farmers billions

Published October 7, 2010
Transgenic corn's suppression of the European corn borer has saved Midwest farmers billions of dollars in the past decade, reports a new study in Science.

Research conducted by several Midwest universities shows that suppression of this pest has saved $3.2 billion for corn growers in Illinois, Minnesota, and Wisconsin over the past 14 years with more than $2.4 billion of this total benefiting non-Bt corn growers. Comparable estimates for Iowa and Nebraska are $3.6 billion in total, with $1.9 billion accruing for non-Bt corn growers.

Transgenic corn is engineered to express insecticidal proteins from the bacterium Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt). Bt corn has become widely adopted in U.S. agriculture since its commercialization in 1996. In 2009, Bt corn constituted 63 percent of the U.S. crop.

Corn borer moths can't distinguish between Bt and non-Bt corn, so females lay eggs in both types of fields. Once eggs hatch in Bt corn, young borer larvae feed and die within 24 to 48 hours.

The major benefit of planting Bt corn is reduced yield losses, and Bt acres received this benefit after the growers paid Bt corn technology fees. But as a result of areawide pest suppression, non-Bt acres also experienced yield savings without the cost of Bt technology fees, and thus received more than half of the benefits from growing Bt corn in the region.

"We've assumed for some time that economic benefits were accruing, even among producers who opted not to plant Bt hybrids," said co-author of the study Mike Gray, University of Illinois Extension entomologist and professor in the Department of Crop Sciences. "However, once quantified, the magnitude of this benefit was even more impressive."

Over the past several years, entomologists and corn producers have noticed very low densities of European corn borers in Illinois. In fact, Illinois densities have reached historic lows to the point where many are questioning its pest status, Gray said.

"Since the introduction of Bt corn, initially targeted primarily at the European corn borer, many entomologists and ecologists have wondered if population suppression over a large area would eventually occur," Gray said. "As this research shows, areawide suppression has occurred and dramatically reduced the estimated $1 billion in annual losses caused previously by the European corn borer."

This information also provides incentives for growers to plant non-Bt corn in addition to Bt corn.

"Sustained economic and environmental benefits of this technology will depend on continued stewardship by producers to maintain non-Bt maize refuges to minimize the risk of evolution of Bt resistance in crop pest species," Gray said.

This study titled, "Areawide Suppression of European Corn Borer with Bt Maize Reaps Savings to Non-Bt Maize Growers," will appear in the October 8 edition of Science. The lead researcher is Bill Hutchison of the University of Minnesota. Collaborating authors include Eric Burkness and Roger Moon of the University of Minnesota, Paul Mitchell of the University of Wisconsin, Tim Leslie of Long Island University, Shelby Fleischer of Pennsylvania State University, Mark Abrahamson of the Minnesota Department of Agriculture, Krista Hamilton of the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection, Kevin Steffey and Mike Gray of the University of Illinois, Rick Hellmich of USDA-ARS, Von Kaster of Syngenta Seeds Inc., Tom Hunt and Bob Wright of the University of Nebraska, Ken Pecinovsky of Iowa State University, Tom Rabaey of General Mills Inc., Brian Flood of Del Monte Foods and the late Earl Raun of Pest Management Company.

Digital photos available at:

Green soybean plants and stems pose issue for farmers

Published October 7, 2010
The 2010 soybean harvest looks promising for Illinois growers with early yield reports indicating the best harvest many growers have ever seen. However, green soybean plants and stems may reduce harvest speed this fall.

Vince Davis, University of Illinois Extension soybean specialist, said the biggest issue concerning growers this fall continues to be green stems and green plants that remain in fields that are otherwise ready to harvest.

"Green stems, sometimes referred to as 'green stem syndrome' or 'green stem disorder' occur when stems remain green even though pods and seeds yield and mature fine," Davis said. "The condition can range from a nearly normal number of pods on a plant with green stems, to entire plants that remain green with few pods and no seeds developed."

Entire plants that remain green can easily persist until a killing frost occurs, he said. These cases can also range from entirely genetic to entirely environmental causes.

"Genetic causes in nature are due to male sterility, causing plants to set about 85 percent fewer pods resulting in 4.5 times greater carbohydrate concentrations in the root, stem, and leaf matter," he said. "In 2006, Curtis Hill and fellow researchers evaluated 1,187 different MGI and MGII cultivars in Illinois from 2001 to 2004 and found some relationships between percentages of green stem to certain cultivars suggesting better variety selection may be possible."

Unfortunately, the syndrome is elusive under different environments, and there is likely little information for growers to access to aid in their seed selection.

"While genetics may play a role, symptoms can also be environmental," he added. "It is commonly associated with viral infections, primarily bean pod mottle virus and secondarily tobacco ringspot virus. It can also be caused by insects feeding on flowers. Stink bugs are a primary culprit, but bean leaf beetles and corn rootworm beetles are also suspects."

In addition, other abiotic stress factors such as drought that increase flower abortion and cause pod loss can play a role. With the number of potential causes for this syndrome, Davis said it's difficult to pinpoint the culprit when scouting at the end of the season.

"The good news is that these issues tend to appear in fields with average to high yields," Davis said. "Green stems are a sign of favorable growing conditions throughout the maturity of the other plants. The only real concern for most growers is how much these green plants and stems reduce harvest speed."

In most cases, the percentage of green plants is 1 percent or less of the field. Harvest speed is not affected greatly at those levels when harvest conditions are dry. In severe cases where green plants can be 10 percent or greater, harvest speed can certainly be reduced, Davis said.

No clear answers exist for why these symptoms appear, and little can be done about it. In severe cases with high percentages of green plants, delaying harvest until after a killing frost might be an option, but monitor the weather and the integrity of the other plants so you don't lose yield to lodging or shattering.

For more information, check out The Bulletin, an online publication written by U of I Extension specialists in crop science, at

Money woes creating stress? Here's an emotional stimulus plan

Published October 6, 2010
URBANA —Is there any way to keep your balance when your financial world is turning upside down? A University of Illinois Extension family life educator says Americans affected by the economy--and that includes almost all of us--may have to adjust their values and attitudes about financial success.

"Here are some tips for creating an emotional stimulus plan that will help you manage your life and relationships in these stressful times," said Rachel Schwarzendruber.

When your economic situation changes, your definition of financial success may have to change with it, she said.

"In good times, financial security may mean you're able to save for the future, you don't have to worry about bills, you're able to take your family on vacations, or you have money for a rainy day. In bad times, financial success may mean that someone is employed in your household, your net worth is a little higher than it was a year ago, or that you've accomplished some small goals you set for yourself," she said.

Ask yourself if your expectations are realistic, realize where you really are in light of today's economy, and reevaluate what is really important. Money doesn't buy happiness, she said.

You may have noticed that people in your family argue more, that your self-esteem is low, or that you're experiencing mixed emotions such as sadness, anger, guilt, fear, and frustration. You may also have physical symptoms, including headaches, nervousness, and depression, and changes in sleeping and eating patterns. These are normal reactions to stress, she said.

How you respond to these stressors is what matters, she noted.

Froma Walsh has studied resiliency, the qualities that help people and families withstand and rebound during a crisis.

Walsh suggests trying to view your crisis as a manageable situation, accept the situation you're in and believe that you can overcome it, and keep your self-talk (the thoughts that run through your mind about your situation) positive and hopeful.

"It also helps if you can be flexible; stay connected to support systems, including family and friends; and be willing to access social and economic resources," Schwarzendruber said.

Sometimes you have to let go of old ways of behaving and be open to new ideas, she said.

Don't be afraid to express your emotions, but try to keep your communication positive. It will open the door to collaborative problem solving. To do that, you'll need to clearly identify your emotions and together identify steps you can take to make the situation better, she added.

"It also helps to set small daily goals, such as calling someone for assistance or looking up information on resume writing. And celebrate your accomplishments. They don't have to be big ones. Remember, one day at a time, one moment at a time," she said.