College of ACES
College News

OIP Announces ACES International Joint Research Grant Awardees for Fall 2016

Published November 1, 2016

The Office of International Programs (OIP) in the College of ACES with the support of the ACES Office of Research congratulates the most recent awardees of the International Joint Research Program.

This program, in its third year, supports ACES faculty who work jointly with researchers who are based at approved peer institutions abroad and are funded at a matching level by their own institution or another agency.

The researchers/partners/projects listed below were awarded funding in late 2016:   

Juan Andrade (Food Science and Human Nutrition) and Ali Almajwal (Division of Nutritional Sciences) with the King Saud University of Riyadh: “Pre‐Clinical and Clinical evaluation of legume‐based nanoaggregate as a delivery vehicle to address vitamin D Deficiency in Saudi Arabia”

David Bullock (Agricultural and Consumer Economics) with EMBRAPA Agrosilvoforestal Research Center Sinop, Mato Grosso: “Putting more data into data-intensive nitrogen management: Using precision technology to conduct large-scale field trials in Brazil and the U.S.”

Elvira de Mejia (Food Science and Human Nutrition) and Jack Juvik (Crop Sciences) with the University Federal of Viçosa (Brazil): “Impact on inflammation and atherosclerosis prevention potential of phenolic compounds and bioactive peptides from chia seeds (Salvia hispanica l)”

Hao Feng (Food Science and Human Nutrition) with Institute of Food Science & Technology, National Taiwan University: “Mano-thermo-sonication as a novel extraction method for ginseng saponins”

Kaiyu Guan (Natural Resource and Environmental Sciences) with Seoul National University: “Using novel satellite and field approaches to estimate crop yields of corn, soybean (U.S.) and paddy rice (Korea)”

Madhu Khanna (Agricultural and Consumer Economics) with Jawaharlal Nehru University, Delhi: “Promoting corporate social responsibility in India: Effectiveness of the CSR Act”

Youngsoo Lee (Food Science and Human Nutrition) with National Taiwan University: “Developing vitamin A and iron-fortified, less-sodium soy sauce”

Juan Loor (Animal Sciences) with Autonomous University of San Luis Potosi (Mexico): “Hypothalamic transcriptome signatures of feed intake regulation induced by propionic acid supplementation in sheep”

Michael Miller (Food Science and Human Nutrition) with Autonomous University of Queretero (Mexico): “Listeria monocytogenes and Hispanic-style fresh cheese”

First female dean leads the College of ACES at the University of Illinois

Published November 1, 2016

URBANA – The University of Illinois is making history today as Dr. Kimberlee Kidwell begins her role as the first female dean in the College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences (ACES). Kidwell, a nationally respected scholar and award-winning teacher and administrator, holds the inaugural Robert A. Easter Chair.

“It is surreal to have an opportunity to co-create the next era of excellence in the college with the ACES community at my alma mater,” said Kidwell, who received her bachelor’s degrees from the College of ACES in genetics and development and agriculture science. “It is a privilege to be able to create opportunities of a lifetime for people at the university that provided those types of opportunities for me.” 

Kidwell is an accomplished wheat breeder and geneticist with multiple patented discoveries addressing basic questions involving gene discovery, genetic characterization, and genetic mapping of important traits for wheat improvement. She also released more than 20 wheat varieties for commercial production.

“Dean Kidwell’s combination of scholarly success, teaching excellence, and academic leadership made her the clear top candidate in a very competitive national search. She will be a strong leader for the college and will help move the university forward as well. I am delighted to welcome her to our Illinois leadership team,” said Ed Feser, Interim Provost and Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

Kidwell’s leadership style is defined by her dedication to improving student learning; driving sound, innovative research; and cultivating industry partnerships to improve the lives and livelihoods of the residents of Illinois, in support of the land-grant mission of the University of Illinois.

“It’s important to me to land on a common purpose with the ACES community so we can clearly articulate what we do and why it matters to people,” Kidwell said. “I am land-grant­-loyal to the core. ACES research translates directly to improving the quality of people's lives. We also are teaching the next generation of change agents in our disciplines by integrating transformational learning opportunities into their academic experiences.”

In her previous role as executive associate dean of the College of Agricultural, Human, and Natural Resource Sciences at Washington State University, Kidwell spearheaded the development of the new Center for Transformational Learning and Leadership, a student, faculty, alumni, and industry partner collaboration which provides beyond-the-classroom experiences for students and leadership development for graduate students, faculty, staff, and professionals.

“Students are the lifeblood of the college,” Kidwell said. “Everything we do should fuel the student learning experience be it in classrooms, research laboratories, communities, or industry experiences. Faculty and staff are the heartbeat of the institution. Everything that happens in the college sources from the efforts of these hardworking, dedicated people.”

She grew up in Danville, Illinois. After graduating from the U of I, she went on to obtain her master’s and Ph.D. degrees in plant breeding and plant genetics from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

Kidwell will succeed ACES Dean Robert Hauser, who has served in that role since 2010. He was interim dean of ACES for a year prior to that, and served two terms as head of the Department of Agricultural and Consumer Economics from 1995 to 2001 and from 2004 to 2009.

Hauser has developed and led exceptional U of I Extension programs, taught several undergraduate and graduate courses since he joined the faculty in 1982, and received numerous research and Extension awards. After providing 35 years of excellent service to the college and university, Hauser intends to retire December 31, 2016.

Assessing the potential for higher corn prices

Published October 31, 2016

URBANA, Ill. – The monthly average price of corn received by U.S. producers has been less than $4 per bushel for 27 consecutive months, and prices below $4 are expected to persist well into 2017. Even with reductions in the cost of producing corn, prices remain below levels that would result in positive returns for many producers. According to a University of Illinois agricultural economist, some combination of a reduction in corn supplies and increased consumption will be required in order for prices to move above $4 per bushel for an extended time.

“On the supply side, the USDA’s Crop Production report to be released on November 9 will contain a new forecast of the size of the 2016 U.S. corn crop,” says Darrel Good.  “The previous history of yield forecast changes in November in years when the forecast declined in September and again in October, as was the case this year, shows very mixed results.”

In the previous 40 years, there were 10 years when the average yield forecast declined in September and October. The November forecast was below the October forecast in five years, was unchanged in one year, and was above the October forecast in four years.  As always, says Good, there are mixed expectations about the potential change in the forecast this year, with the average expectation leaning toward a small reduction from the October yield forecast of 173.4 bushels.  Any change in the 2016 production forecast this month is not expected to be large enough to alter prices very much.

“The corn supply for the year ahead will also be influenced by production in the rest of the world, with special attention focused on the potential size of the South American crops,” Good notes. “Brazilian production declined from 3.35 billion bushels in 2015 to 2.64 billion bushels in 2016 due to late season drought. Early season USDA projections are for production in 2017 to rebound to 3.29 billion bushels. In addition, Argentina is expected to expand corn area due to reductions in export taxes, with early season USDA projections showing a 2017 production increase of 335 million bushels. It’s too early in the growing season to assess yield potential, but production well below early projections would be required to push corn prices higher.”

Good says a more likely source of a reduction in corn supply may be reduced corn acreage in the United States in 2017. Planted acreage increased about 6.5 million acres in 2016 and early expectations are for a 3 million-acre reduction in 2017 due to low corn prices and the high cost of producing corn relative to competing crops. Corn prices would be expected to get a boost if acreage is reduced enough to result in smaller stocks at the end of the 2017-18 marketing year.  “Assuming a 3 million-acre reduction in harvested acreage and consumption during the 2017-18 marketing year near the 14.525 billion bushels projected for this year,” Good says, “the 2017 average yield would need to be below 173 bushels in order for year-ending stocks to be reduced from the 2.32 billion bushels projected for the current year. Under the acreage and consumption assumptions made here, a yield near trend value of 169 bushels would result in year-ending stocks of about 1.99 billion bushels.”

Higher corn prices might also be generated by stronger demand that would result in some combination of increased consumption and the willingness of end users to pay more for corn,” Good says. “Domestically, feed and residual use of corn is already projected to increase by nearly 9 percent this year. A larger increase seems unlikely based on current livestock inventories. In addition, the ability of livestock producers to pay a higher price for corn will be limited by current low livestock and livestock product prices. Corn used for ethanol production is projected to increase by only 1.3 percent this year.”

A larger increase might be generated by a continued expansion in gasoline consumption, larger ethanol exports, and a decline in the use of sorghum as a feedstock. Ethanol production was up about 4 percent in the first two months of the 2016-17 marketing year. The amount of corn used for ethanol production in September will be revealed in the USDA’s Grain Crushings and Co-Products Production report to be released on November 1. It seems unlikely that corn used for ethanol production this year would exceed the current USDA projection by more than 100 million bushels.

At 2.225 billion bushels, U.S. corn exports are expected to be 327 million bushels (17 percent) larger than exports of a year earlier. The increase primarily reflects the smaller Brazilian crop harvested earlier this year. Export inspections through the first eight weeks of the current marketing year were 74 percent larger than inspections of a year earlier, and unshipped sales as of October 20 were 90 percent larger than outstanding sales of a year earlier. “However,” Good says, “it is misleading to judge export potential for the current year based on the pace of export sales and shipments relative to that of last year. U.S. exports started slowly in the 2015-16 marketing year and ended on a strong note due to the Brazilian production shortfall. In contrast, the current rapid pace of exports is expected to slow as the year progresses if South American production rebounds.”

It appears unlikely that higher corn prices will be generated by a large reduction in the estimated size of the 2016 U.S. crop or stronger than projected demand for corn. “That leaves a smaller than expected South American crop or a much smaller U.S. crop in 2017 as the potential sources of higher prices. If South American production increases as projected,” Good concludes, “a large decline in U.S. acreage and/or a 2017 yield below trend value may be required to push the average corn price above $4 during the 2017-18 marketing year.”

News Source:

Darrel Good, 217-333-4716

News Writer:

Leanne Lucas, 217-244-9085

ILRI director advocates for broadened agricultural development in Africa

Published October 31, 2016
Dean Emeritus Robert Hauser, Dr. Jimmy Smith, and Dr. Alex Winter-Nelson

Returning to his alma mater as a distinguished speaker in the food security lecture series, Director General of the International Livestock Research Institute Dr. Jimmy Smith presented a case for broadened agricultural development in Africa. 

Smith, who earned his Ph.D. in animal sciences at Illinois, began his lecture by paying tribute to his mentors during his education at Illinois, which he referred to as one of the most formative times in his life.

VIDEO: Click here to view Smith’s October 11 lecture.

Smith argued that agricultural development in Africa must and can do much more than produce more food.

“It is not just about food security but economic development more broadly,” he explained.

Smith emphasized Africa’s untapped potential, including its people, land, and water, that could be employed to produce food that is currently imported. That production could then allow for importation of medicine and other products the continent cannot produce. 

Addressing the “youth bulge” of population aged 15-24, he hoped that instead of taking boats to seek better lives, these youth can benefit from modernized and mechanized agriculture that will provide increased opportunities in Africa that do not exist today.

“What Africa needs is a Marshall Plan in Agriculture,” he said.

Large investments are required to transform African agriculture to employ young people and drive economic change, he said.  

Smith hopes African governments and the international donor community can work together to make sustainable livestock development and efficient agricultural intensification top priorities, by ramping up the use of agricultural inputs and modern biotechnologies.   

“My wish is that the University of Illinois’ longstanding and distinguished agricultural research, training and partnerships, of which I am a grateful beneficiary, can be put to even greater use for Africa’s development, particularly that of its young people, who are hungry for jobs and livelihoods as well as food, and on whose ambitions the future of much, within and beyond Africa, depends,” Smith said.  

Smith said he looks forward to “seeing even more orange and blue around the world, especially in Africa,” and invited everyone in the audience to visit him at ILRI.

Before joining ILRI as director in 2011, Smith worked for the World Bank, in Washington, DC, where he led the Bank’s Global Livestock Portfolio. Before joining the World Bank, he held senior positions at the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA). Still earlier in his career, Smith worked at ILRI and its predecessor, the International Livestock Centre for Africa (ILCA), where he served as the institute’s regional representative for West Africa and subsequently managed the ILRI-led System-wide Livestock Programme of the CGIAR, an association of 10 CGIAR centres working at the crop-livestock interface. Before his decade of work at ILCA/ILRI, Smith held senior positions in the Caribbean Agricultural Research and Development Institute (CARDI).

Read more about International Food Security at Illinois (IFSI) here:



Fall-applied herbicides: Which weed species to target?

Published October 27, 2016
Marestail plant

URBANA, Ill. – Herbicides applied in the fall often can provide improved control of many winter annual weed species compared with similar applications made in the spring. Marestail is a prime example. More and more Illinois marestail populations are resistant to herbicides, including glyphosate and ALS-inhibiting products. University of Illinois weed scientist Aaron Hager recommends targeting emerged marestail with higher application rates of products such as 2,4-D in the fall to achieve better control come spring.

Hager is frequently asked whether a fall application needs to include one or more herbicides that provide residual control of winter annual weed species.

“Typically, the earlier the fall application is made—say, early October—the more benefit a soil-residual herbicide can provide, since emergence of winter annual weeds is often not complete. However, delaying the herbicide application until later in the fall—say, mid-November—often diminishes the necessity of a soil-residual herbicide, since most of the winter annual weeds have emerged and can be controlled with non-residual herbicides,” Hager says.

Applying a soil-residual herbicide late in the fall in hopes of having a clean field prior to planting is akin to gambling on the weather. Cold winter conditions can reduce herbicide degradation in the soil and increase herbicide persistence. This might not always be favorable since, depending on the residual herbicide, increased persistence also can cause injury to the following crop. A more moderate winter and early spring warming will increase herbicide degradation, which could result in the need for a burndown herbicide to control existing vegetation before planting.

“We recommend fall-applied herbicides to target fall-emerging winter annual species, biennials and perennials,” Hager notes. “We do not recommend fall application of residual herbicides for control of any spring-emerging annual weed species.”

Hager notes that some products have 2(ee) recommendations that suggest the product will control certain summer annual weed species following application in the fall. Certain products list “pigweed species” among these summer annuals, but Hager specifically recommends against fall application of residual herbicides to control Amaranthus species, for the following reasons:

Inconsistent performance: Performance consistency of soil-residual herbicides applied in the fall is greatly dependent on weather and soil conditions after application. “Our data suggest the greatest and most consistent control of Amaranthus species either at planting or several weeks after planting was achieved when residual herbicides were applied in the spring, not in the fall,” Hager says.

Increased selection for herbicide-resistant biotypes: Soil-applied herbicides are not immune from selection for herbicide-resistant biotypes. Following a fall application, the concentration of herbicide remaining in the spring when Amaranthus species begin to germinate will be much lower compared with the same product rate applied closer to planting.

Populations of several summer annual broadleaf weed species in Illinois demonstrate resistance to herbicides from more than one site-of-action herbicide class. Their effective management requires an integrated approach that often includes soil-residual herbicides.

“Applying these herbicides when they will be most effective against these challenging summer annual species is a critical component of an integrated management program,” Hager says.

For more information, visit the Bulletin.

News Source:

Aaron Hager, 217-333-4424

Make manure safety a priority

Published October 27, 2016
Custom application of manure after harvest
  • Recent deaths of cattle in the Illinois-Iowa-Wisconsin region point to pit gases as the culprit.
  • Hydrogen sulfide and methane gasses from liquid/slurry stores can be lethal to animals and people.
  • Remember key safety rules before agitating and emptying manure stores.
  • Make sure new or inexperienced workers are trained in safety.

URBANA, Ill. - With harvest winding down and manure application underway, it's a good time to remember manure safety, says Rich Gates, professor and Extension specialist at the University of Illinois. "Any liquid/slurry stores, when agitated, will release toxic hydrogen sulfide and methane gasses that can be lethal. Last summer, during agitation of a large manure storage tank in Wisconsin, a young farmer was killed from manure gas, along with 16 cows. This past weekend in mid-October there were three more incidents, with at least 61 cattle reported to have been killed in four incidents in the tri-state area.”

It is important to remember the key safety rules when agitating and emptying manure stores. These rules include taking steps to promote ventilation, removing workers and if possible animals, from buildings or nearby downwind structures, starting the agitation slowly, and watching for any harmful effects. Never enter an enclosed manure store without appropriate precautions, and be mindful that you can be overcome with a single breath if concentrations are high.

Facts surrounding the most recent incidents are sketchy, but custom applicators reported high to dangerous levels of hydrogen sulfide on the ground near tankers and in the cab of tractors during filling, according to a news release from Kevin Erb, University of Wisconsin Extension.

“Levels of hydrogen sulfide over 10 parts per million (ppm) should be considered dangerous, with most personal alarms set at 10 to 20 ppm,” says University of Illinois Extension educator Jay Solomon. “Levels of 1-10 ppm cause irritation, 10-50 ppm cause more serious problems with eyes and respiratory tract, and above 50 ppm can be lethal quickly.” He also noted that this latest set of mortalities occurred in naturally ventilated deep-pit beef operations.

Two fact sheets, "Safe Manure Removal Policies" and "Manure Storage Entering Procedures" are available free online from the National Pork Board and U of I Extension's ag safety website.

"Don't forget the importance of ensuring that new or inexperienced workers are also trained in safety," Gates concludes.

News Source:

Richard Gates, 217-244-2791

News Writer:

Leanne Lucas, 217-244-9085

New soy protein concentrate can be used in weanling pig diets

Published October 26, 2016


  • The digestibility of crude protein and most amino acids does not differ between soybean meal and a new source of soy protein concentrate.
  • Soy protein concentrate contained more digestible and metabolizable energy than soybean meal.
  • Phosphorus digestibility in soy protein concentrate was not different from that in soybean meal.

URBANA, Ill. – A new source of soy protein concentrate can be used in diets fed to weanling pigs without negatively affecting digestibility of energy or nutrients, according to research conducted at the University of Illinois.

“Soy protein concentrate is typically produced by using an alcohol extraction process to remove soluble carbohydrates from soybean meal," says Hans H Stein, professor of animal sciences at the University of Illinois. "However, a new soy protein concentrate has been developed which combines a non-alcohol extraction process with enzymatic treatment of soybean meal."

Stein, along with visiting scholar Maryane S. Oliveira, conducted three experiments to evaluate the nutritional value of this new soy protein concentrate product.

The soy protein concentrate contained 61.2 percent crude protein compared with approximately 47.7 percent for dehulled soybean meal. The standardized ileal digestibility (SID) of isoleucine and leucine and some dispensable amino acids was greater in soy protein concentrate compared with soybean meal, but for crude protein and most amino acids, no difference between soy protein concentrate and soybean meal was observed.

Soy protein concentrate contained 3,479 kcal/kg digestible energy (DE) and 3,299 kcal/kg metabolizable energy, compared with 3,319 and 3,093, respectively, in soybean meal. Removal of oligosaccharides, which weanling pigs cannot digest, and other soluble carbohydrates from soybean meal resulted in greater concentration of crude protein, which is likely the reason for the greater concentration of digestible energy in the soy protein concentrate.

There was no difference in the standardized total tract digestibility (STTD) of phosphorus between soy protein concentrate and soybean meal, but for both ingredients, addition of microbial phytase increased phosphorus digestibility by about 35 percent.

"Soy protein concentrate is one way of feeding high-quality soy protein to weanling pigs," says Stein. "This new technology produces soy protein concentrate that is high in digestible amino acids and energy."

Funding for this research was provided by Midwest Ag Enterprises Inc., of Marshall, MN.

The paper, "Digestibility of energy, amino acids, and phosphorus in a novel source of soy protein concentrate and in soybean meal fed to growing pigs," was published in the August issue of the Journal of Animal Science. It was co-authored by Maryane Sespere Oliveira. The full text can be found online at