College of ACES
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Maverick Woodside
Horticulture Club has many benefits, and some I may not realize until my time at the university is up.
Littleton, IL
The University of Illinois has a wide array of opportunities for its students, many of them registered student organizations. Maverick Woodside, a horticulture major, believes the Horticulture Club offers great value to students because of the people they are able to work alongside.
“Horticulture Club has many benefits, and some I may not realize until my time at the university is up,” Maverick says. “For starters, the faculty, students, and staff that we work with, and in particular the College of ACES, are the best you will find. Their passion for students and education burns strong, and they instill those same values into our club. We are truly lucky to have them.”
Another club positive is the chance for students to work around something they are passionate about: horticulture.
“The club provides an arena for students who are interested in and passionate about the same things to interact and ultimately form relationships that extend beyond the limits of Champaign-Urbana,” Maverick says. 
Reaching beyond the limits through Horticulture Club has been possible for Maverick serving as the clubs president. 
“Through the Horticulture Club I have accumulated skills that apply directly to the professional world,” Maverick says, “things like working in a team environment, talking to other professionals via numerous forms of communication, managing a budget, public speaking. . . . The list goes on and on.”

ACES alumna Tatyana McFadden wins third straight Boston Marathon

Published April 23, 2015

URBANA, Ill. – Former University of Illinois wheelchair athlete and College of ACES human development and family studies alumna Tatyana McFadden won her third straight Boston Marathon Monday with a time of 1 hour, 52 minutes, 54 seconds. Susannah Scaroni, an ACES dietetics alumna, finished third with a time of 1:57:21, giving the United States—and College of ACES alumni—two racers in the top three.

McFadden, 25, wore a singlet in memory of Martin Richard, the eight-year-old boy who was killed in the 2013 finish-line bombing.

McFadden is a four-time Paralympian and the reigning champion of the Chicago, New York City, and London Marathons. She also finished second in the 1-kilometer Nordic skiing sprint in the 2014 Paralympics.

In an earlier interview, third-place winner Scaroni , who graduated in 2014, credited the U of I with having the top wheelchair athletes program in the country, possibly the world.

“I’m at the best place I could be as a wheelchair athlete and as a dietetics major who wants to go into sports nutrition. At the U of I, I’m surrounded by elite wheelchair athletes, and our training schedules are built into our school schedules. It means the world to me,” Scaroni said.

McFadden, who graduated from the U of I in 2013 as a child life specialist, agreed. “At the U of I, a lot of us were Paralympic athletes so it was a great group of people to train with. We pushed each other every day. It’s a lot of fun at practice and prepares you for races like these,” she said.



Black cutworm moth captures reported in several midwestern states

Published April 22, 2015
Champaign County field considered a prime target for black cutworm moth egg laying, April 21, 2015. Photo courtesy of Mike Gray, University of Illinois.

URBANA, Ill. - Although no intense flights (nine or more moths caught over a two-day period) of black cutworm moths have been reported, captures of this species have been common in several Illinois counties and states, said a University of Illinois Extension entomologist.

Mike Gray said that impressive flights of black cutworm and armyworm moths have been reported by Doug Johnson an Extension Entomologist at the University of Kentucky. Entomologists at Purdue University also have received reports that black cutworm moth captures are now common in many areas of Indiana.

He added that Kelly Estes, agricultural pest survey coordinator with the Illinois Natural History Survey, has established a network of trapping cooperators across Illinois. Over the past two weeks, captures have been reported in the following Illinois counties: Champaign, Fayette, Logan, Lee, Macon, Macoupin, and Madison.

“This distribution of captures suggests that black cutworm moth flights have likely taken place throughout Illinois and growers are encouraged to remain vigilant for early signs of leaf feeding when corn seedlings begin to emerge,” Gray said. “Today (April 21) strong winds from the south are undoubtedly bringing many black cutworm moths into Illinois, and weedy fields will be prime targets for egg laying by this species.”

For more complete information about the biology, life cycle, and management of black cutworms and armyworms, fact sheets are available from the U of I Department of Crop Sciences.

Gray provided some key life cycle and management facts concerning black cutworms.

  • Black cutworm moths are strong migratory insects with northward flights commonly observed from the Gulf States into the Midwest from March through May.
  • Moths are attracted to fields heavily infested with weeds such as chickweed, shepherd’s purse, peppergrass, and yellow rocket.
  • Late tillage and planting tends to increase the susceptibility of fields to black cutworm infestations.
  • Cutting of corn plants begins when larvae reach the 4th instar, with a single cutworm cutting an average of three to four plants during its larval development.
  • Cutting tends to occur most often during nights or on dark overcast days.
  • Fields at greatest risk to cutting and economic damage are in the 1-to-4 leaf stage of plant development.
  • An early warning sign of potential economic damage includes small pinhole feeding injury in leaves (caused by the first three instars).
  • A nominal threshold of 3 percent cutting of plants has traditionally been used as a point at which growers should consider a rescue treatment.
  • Not all Bt hybrids offer adequate protection against black cutworm damage. Growers should consult the Handy Bt trait table prepared by Dr. Chris DiFonzo at Michigan State University to determine the level of protection provided by their chosen Bt hybrid.

“As the season progresses, if you learn of significant black cutworm infestations, please let me know and I will share this information with the readers of the Bulletin,” Gray added.

Poultry in Midwest infected with bird flu, Illinois prepares

Published April 22, 2015

URBANA, Ill. – Avian influenza, also known as bird flu, has been reported in the Midwest, causing illness among poultry and temporarily disrupting deliveries and supplies of eggs. Although the virus has not been seen in Illinois, University of Illinois, Department of Animal Sciences Professor Kenneth Koelkebeck is alerting poultry farmers in the state so that they can take necessary precautions to avoid infection in their flocks.

“The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention consider the risk of infection to people to be low,” Koelkebeck said. “In fact, no human infections with the virus (subtype H5N2) have ever been detected.” Worldwide, there are many strains of the virus, he said. One is considered to be a low pathogenic virus that occurs naturally in wild birds and migratory waterfowl without causing illness. However, the strain that is occurring in the United States at this time is Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza (HPAI).

“HPAI is extremely infectious and fatal to chickens and turkeys and can spread rapidly from flock to flock,” Koelkebeck said. “Poultry and egg farmers are on high alert for any signs of the disease in their flocks and will strive to keep their customers informed of any problems associated with this disease.”

Koelkebeck also stressed that the United States has the best avian influenza surveillance program in the world. As part of existing U.S. Department of Agriculture avian influenza response plans, federal and state partners as well as poultry and egg farmers are responding quickly and decisively to these HPAI cases. The five basic steps are: to restrict the movement of poultry into and out of a control area; humanely euthanize the affected birds; test wild and domestic birds in and around quarantined areas; destroy the virus in the affected flock locations; and confirm that the poultry farm is virus-free.

“In addition, the U.S. Department of Agriculture is working with its partners to actively look and test for the disease in commercial poultry operations, live bird markets, and in migratory wild bird populations,” Koelkebeck said.

The virus is most often spread via direct contact between infected birds and healthy birds but may also spread indirectly through contact with contaminated materials and equipment with droppings from infected birds. Consequently, as a precaution, people who keep poultry or have pet birds are encouraged to keep them indoors and avoid contact with waterfowl of any kind, particularly Canada geese.  Waterfowl hunters who own poultry, after returning from the field, should shower and change clothes and shoes before entering poultry houses.

U of I Extension reports that properly prepared poultry and eggs are safe to eat. Even with the virus’s presence in the Midwest, it is unlikely that an infected bird would enter the food supply. Flocks are routinely tested for avian influenza prior to birds or eggs leaving the farm for processing.  Proper cooking kills the avian influenza virus, just as it does many other germs.

The last large outbreak of bird flu was in 2004.




Kirsten Blackford
I love seeing the excitement for new ideas and new adventures that my students are able to experience.
Paxton, Illinois
Working with the future of agriculture every day, Kirsten Blackford never has the same day twice. She chose the University of Illinois ag education program to help her reach her goal of being a high school ag teacher. Kirsten says the program provided her with countless opportunities to meet her future colleagues. 
She believes her experiences with observation and clinical hours throughout college helped her learn her own teaching style and how to be an effective educator. This knowledge makes her job enjoyable for both her students and herself.
“Working with the future of agriculture is a rewarding experience,” Kirsten says. “I love seeing the excitement for new ideas and new adventures that my students are able to experience.”    
During her time in the College of ACES, Kirsten was involved in numerous clubs and organizations, including Sigma Alpha agriculture sorority, Alpha Tau Alpha ag ed honorary, Collegiate FFA, and the Ag Education Club. She believes ACES students and teachers alike share the same passion for agriculture and strive to make the ACES experience the best.
“The University of Illinois demands excellence from each student,” Kirsten says. “This standard drives students to succeed in their academics and is carried into their future careers. Not many people can say they are an Illini.”

Avoiding ammonia injury

Published April 21, 2015

URBANA, Ill. – According to a University of Illinois crop scientist, growers are applying a lot of anhydrous ammonia this spring with the hope, in many fields, to plant as soon as is practicable after ammonia application. This brings up the question about potential for ammonia damage to seeds and seedlings.

Seed and seedling damage from spring-applied ammonia is relatively rare in Illinois, but it can be quite damaging, and Emerson Nafziger said he wants to minimize the chances of it happening.

“Such damage is rare is because ammonia converts readily in soil to the ammonium form, which is held on soil exchange sites and is not damaging to plant tissue,” Nafziger said. “If soils are moist at the time of application and there is normal rainfall—at least an inch or so—from ammonia application through the time of crop emergence and establishment, chances of damage are close to zero.”

A small amount of ammonia remains as free ammonia instead of converting to ammonium right away, Nafziger explained. If placement is shallow or if soils dry out, some ammonia can end up in the seeding or rooting zone.

“If you can smell ammonia at the soil surface near the row at or after planting and soils are dry, there may be enough to cause damage,” he cautioned. “Free ammonia is very toxic to young plant tissue, and if seeds are planted into, or roots grow into, a soil zone where there is ammonia, damage can result.

“The most common damage is death of young roots, and this can affect yield if root systems don’t fully recover,” he added.

Nafziger explained that the best way to avoid the potential for damage is to physically separate the ammonia and the seed by placing ammonia between rows or row locations.

“This is possible using GPS—probably RTK—and autosteer, but it means that ammonia needs to be applied parallel, not at an angle, to the rows, and application and planting need to be precise in order to avoid placing any rows right over the ammonia band,” he said. “If this can be done accurately, planting can take place right after, during, or before ammonia application.”

Physically separating ammonia from the seedling zone by placing ammonia deep can help but does not eliminate the possibility of damage. Deep placement (8 to 10 inches deep) takes more power, and it can be difficult to maintain uniformity of depth across wide bars,” Nafziger said.

“Deep placement in the spring also means placement into wetter soil. With its very high solubility, ammonia moves less distance away from the point of release in wet soils than in drier soils,” he said. “This increases the concentration of ammonia in the soil and increases the amount that might move up if soils dry to that depth.

“The ‘path’ left by a knife running in wet soil is more open for upward movement of ammonia, and this can increase potential for plant damage,” he added.

If it’s not possible to apply ammonia between (the eventual) rows, then separating application from planting by time can reduce damage potential. “The idea is to apply ammonia early enough so that enough rainfall will occur to keep ammonia out of the seedling zone,” he said.

“This means relying on weather probabilities, but that has risks; there have even been cases of plant damage from fall-applied ammonia. But the chances of such damage are low, and if this is the only option, then the longer you can wait between application and planting, the better,” Nafziger said.

He added that the old rule of thumb—waiting one to two weeks between application and planting—is better than waiting one to two days, but not as good as waiting longer. “So as long as we understand that waiting a week or two decreases but does not eliminate the odds of injury, it’s a guideline we can live with,” he said.


The effects of perinatal choline status on metabolism and neurodevelopment in the piglet

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180 Bevier Hall

Will soybean consumption reach the USDA projection?

Published April 20, 2015

URBANA, Ill. – With plentiful supplies of soybeans available, the magnitude of 2014-15 marketing-year ending stocks of U.S soybeans has limited implications for old-crop prices.  According to a University of Illinois agricultural economist, those stocks will reveal the strength of demand for U.S. soybeans, will be part of next year’s supply, and could have some influence on prices during the 2015-16 marketing year.

The USDA’s April 9, 2015, World Agricultural Supply and Demand Estimates (WASDE) report projected year-ending soybean stocks of 370 million bushels, reflecting expectations that the domestic crush this year will reach a record 1.795 billion bushels and exports will reach a record 1.79 billion bushels. “The projection of year-ending stocks is 105 million bushels smaller than the September 2014 forecast, even though the crop turned out to be 56 million bushels larger than forecasted in September and imports are projected to be 15 million bushels larger than projected in September,” said Darrel Good. “The smaller projection of year-ending stocks compared to the September projection reflects expectations that the crush will be 25 million bushels larger, exports 90 million bushels larger, and seed and residual use 22 million bushels larger than projected in September. In addition, the inventory of old-crop soybeans at the start of the current marketing year was 38 million bushels smaller than projected in September.”

The USDA projection of the domestic soybean crush during the current marketing year that started on Sept. 1, 2014, is 3.5 percent larger than last year’s crush. Good said the pace of the domestic crush in September 2014 was very slow as the result of limited supplies of old-crop soybeans and the slow start to the 2015 harvest.

“The pace has accelerated since then, and crush estimates from the National Oilseed Processors Association (NOPA) indicate that the cumulative crush during the first seven months of the marketing year (September 2014-March 2015) was 1.3 percent larger than the cumulative crush of a year earlier,” Good said. “The crush during March 2015, however, was 5.8 percent larger than in March 2014. To reach the USDA projection, crush during the final five months of the current marketing year will have to be 7.3 percent larger during the same period last year. The prospects of such a large increase in the domestic crush are enhanced by the fact that the crush during those five months last year was relatively small. It also appears that exports of soybean oil and meal could exceed the current USDA projections. USDA projects a 1.2 percent year-over-year increase in soybean oil exports and a 10.8 percent increase in soybean meal exports. Cumulative soybean oil shipments plus outstanding sales as of April 9 exceeded those of a year ago by 12.7 percent. Soybean meal exports plus outstanding sales were up 13.4 percent.

“The domestic soybean crush may also get some support from accelerating biodiesel production,” Good added. “The USDA currently projects a 6 percent year-over-year decline in the amount of soybean oil used for biodiesel production during the marketing year that began on Oct. 1, 2015. Data from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) indicate that biodiesel production was down 10 percent during the first quarter of the marketing year, but up by 32 percent during the second quarter. Production during the first half of the marketing year was 2 percent larger than during the same period last year. Soybean oil consumption likely has benefitted from the increase. In addition to the monthly pace of biodiesel production, the EPA announcement about the 2014 and 2015 biofuels mandates expected in June will provide further guidance on likely biodiesel production for this year. The NOPA estimate of the April crush is scheduled for release on May 15. On August 3, the USDA will release its first Oilseed Crushings report that will replace the Census Bureau report that was discontinued in July 2011. This report should provide more complete data on the size of the monthly soybean crush than are available from NOPA,” he said.

Good reported that the USDA projection of current marketing-year exports of 1.79 billion bushels exceeds last year’s exports by 143 million bushels. The USDA weekly reports indicate that cumulative marketing-year export inspections reached 1.67 billion bushels as of April 16, 161 million more than the total of a year earlier.

“With 19.57 weeks left in the marketing year, inspections now need to average 6.1 million bushels per week to reach the USDA projection,” Good said. “As of April 9, 130 million bushels of U.S. soybeans had been sold for export during the current marketing year, but not yet shipped. Total export commitments then have already reached the USDA’s projection of total marketing-year exports. However, some current outstanding sales may be canceled, and it is typical for some sales to get carried into the next marketing year. Additional net sales of about 60 million bushels are probably needed for exports to actually reach 1.79 billion bushels.”

At this juncture in the marketing year, Good says it appears that the total of the domestic soybean crush and exports during the 2014-15 marketing year will be close to the current USDA projection. However, even as prospects for total consumption become clearer over the next five months, uncertainty about the magnitude of year-ending stocks will remain until the USDA releases the estimate of Sept.1 stocks on Sept. 30. 

“As I mentioned, Sept. 1, 2014 stocks were 38 million bushels smaller than expected just three weeks before the release of the stocks report,” Good said. “The level of uncertainty this year is magnified by the March 1, 2015, stocks estimate that hinted that the 2014 crop may have been overestimated.”


News Source:

Darrel Good, 217-333-4716

Spring nitrogen management: Form and timing

Published April 20, 2015

URBANA, Ill. - Most corn producers have planned their spring nitrogen program for 2015, and many have already started to implement their program. Such plans might include fall ammonia application, early spring application of ammonia or another form of nitrogen, or plans to apply all of the nitrogen at or after planting, said a University of Illinois crop scientist.

“In recent years, there has been a trend toward more applications per crop, and it’s not unusual today to have nitrogen applied three or four times on the same field,” said Emerson Nafziger.

In 2014 Nafziger and his team began a study, funded by the Illinois fertilizer checkoff program and administered by the Nutrient Research and Education Council (NREC) board, with the goal of comparing yields from different nitrogen programs. These included a comparison of 15 ways to apply the same rate of nitrogen (150 lb per acre) in the spring at three U of I research centers.

June rainfall at the three sites where trials ran in 2014 ranged from 8 to 10 inches, or more than twice the normal amounts. “This might have meant above-normal nitrogen loss potential, though we did not have water standing on these plots,” Nafziger said. “Even so, most of the nitrogen forms and application times we compared produced similar yields when averaged across sites.”

Across the three sites, the highest-yielding treatment (urea plus Agrotain broadcast at planting) yielded statistically more than the five other treatments, but the second-best treatment (all of the nitrogen as UAN sidedressed at V5) yielded more than only the two lowest-yielding treatments.

“Having so few distinct differences was due to the fact that treatments changed rank so much from one site to another,” Nafziger said. “That lowered the predictive ability of the experiment because we have no way to predict how a treatment that did well at one site but not another will perform at either site (or across sites) in 2015 or 2016, or in a field this year or in future years.”

The 2014 results do raise the possibility that few if any of these nitrogen form and timing treatments may, in the end, stand out as being consistently better or worse than another. Nafziger said that this isn’t alarming, but it does provide a hint that the list of “acceptable” ways to apply nitrogen might turn out to be a little longer than was first thought.

“While we need to be cautious about any predictions, this also hints that some of the treatments that we reason should produce higher nitrogen use efficiency—such as sidedress or split nitrogen applications—might not always do so consistently,” he said. “What we saw it do well in 2014 can’t be considered the ‘best new’ way to apply nitrogen.

Nafziger added that it’s dangerous to speculate about why a treatment might have done well at one site but not another based on weather differences between the two sites. “In part that’s because the weather among sites was reasonably consistent – and excellent - in 2014. It’s likely that the weather in 2015 will be different than in 2014, and that may well change how the different treatments perform,” he said.

Nafziger said most growers can take comfort in the fact that just about any method they choose for putting nitrogen on the corn crop is likely to work reasonably well, though no method is entirely safe from unusual weather or crop conditions. “We only need to look back to 2012 to find a year when no method of applying nitrogen worked very well. When lack of water becomes the main limitation for a crop, things like nitrogen management may make little difference,” he said.

“A sound nitrogen management program should take costs into account, though, and not just the costs of trips across the fields and of the fertilizer material, but also the indirect costs that include such things as the chance for yield loss or of more expensive forms or application methods we might need to use if we can’t get nitrogen on when we expected to,” Nafziger said.

“Most changes we are inclined to make in how we manage nitrogen today involve increasing the complexity, and this often comes at a cost in time, expense, or uncertainty. Such costs have to be covered by consistent improvement in yields,” he said.

Cookbook fundraiser to support U of I 4-H House

Published April 17, 2015
portion of cover of cookbook

URBANA, Ill. – Over 1,000 University of Illinois students have lived in the 4-H House at 805 W. Ohio in Urbana since it was built in 1960.  That number of residents over 55 years would take a toll on any home. Consequently, a new cookbook has been published to help raise awareness and funds for the much-needed remodeling and renovation.

Nurture the Future @ 805 is a hard cover, spiral-bound cookbook with 480 pages of favorite 4-H House recipes from over the years. In addition to unique recipes from appetizers to dessert, children’s recipes, and some for the microwave, it includes dishes that have already been multiplied for large dinner parties.

“Currently 4-H House is home to 51 girls who have leadership experience in 4-H, Future Farmers of America, or similar organizations,” said U of I freshman Krista Temple, who is the ninth member of her family to live in the 4-H House. “These women do all of their own cooking, cleaning, and maintenance at the house. This cooperative living style allows us to live on campus at a reasonable price and to form long-lasting friendships.”

Temple said that the money raised from the sale of the Nurture the Future @ 805 cookbooks will help update the house with air conditioning, electrical updating, new bathrooms, and much more.

Many of the recipes in the book have been used by the girls who have lived in 4-H House for decades, some with cooking experience and some without. Freshman Emily Bloemer said, “I love our home-cooked meals at 4-H House. It’s great to come home from class to some good food.”

Nurture the Future @ 805 can be purchased for $30 per book, which includes shipping costs. For details on how to order, visit or send an email to Judy Taylor ( or Linda Muehling at




News Source:

Krista Temple